Avoid 3 Common Job Search Mistakes Made by Most Job Hunters
The job market remains tough, and businesses continue to show concern regarding the tension between hiring costs and profits. More potential employees are chasing fewer jobs. You should be aware of 3 job search strategies many people overlook when introducing themselves to the job market using the most common tools – the resume, cover letter, and networking. We offer some ideas that help you strengthen your competitive status in the market place.
Avoid sending the same resume to everyone. Your resume is a living document. Many times people send the same resume for different types of jobs, even when their resume isn’t a match for the employer’s requirements and preferred skill set. The successful job applicant tailors their resume to most closely resemble what the employer is actually asking for. There was a time when resumes were a one-size-fits-all proposition. Word processors make that approach a thing of the past. When trying to adjust your resume to match the employer’s requirements, here are a few pointers:
- Analyze job announcements (duties, knowledge skills and abilities as well as preferred requirements) so that you understand what’s really being sought. See how they match your background and experience.
- Revise your resume’s content so that it supports, if not matches, the job announcement’s requirements. But never oversell or lie about your qualifications just to make it work.
- Analyze and prioritize your job history or job experience content under each job. Place the bullet statements or paragraphs that support the job announcement up front and eliminate content that has no significance to the announcement and could distract the reader.
- Change the Objective or Summary of Qualifications to reflect the job announcement.
It seems silly to point this out, but be sure not to overwrite your original resume. When making adjustments, always save the adjusted version under a different name.
Discount cover letters at your own risk. Cover letters are a critical component of the job search; they help to get you noticed and your resume read. Many consider cover letters to be either an unnecessary waste of time or something that can be written like a regular letter. But a cover letter is far more important that a couple of paragraphs where important information is buried – or the lack of it is obscured. Your cover letter is as important as your resume because it’s the initial point of contact between you and the potential employer. I stress the following points to my clients when they write their cover letters:
Create a template that is easy to read and can be easily rewritten for each job application.
- Ensure that you have a contact name in your cover letter. Research to find a contact’s name if none is given in the announcement. Cover letters written to a real person and not to a department are more likely to be delivered and read.
- Build your introductory paragraph so that it contains all the job announcement information, it has a strong sentence telling the reader why you are applying for the job, and it outlines why you believe that you are a strong candidate.
- Compare the job requirements with your job accomplishments on your resume. I recommend that my clients list three to four items. Also, I suggest that they use a table format so that the reader can easily make the comparison.
- Write a compelling final paragraph that closes the deal by repeating how strong a match you are for the position. Also, it must include a call to action. If the cover letter and resume are being sent in response to an advertisement, the call to action must be directed to the reader, since they’re in charge. If the cover letter and resume are sent unsolicited, you must state your next step and be prepared to follow through.
Underestimating the value of networking is a critical mistake. Both face-to-face and online networks are an extremely important aspect of your job search. One really can’t do without the other in today’s job market. Networking provides important support to your application packages and, if done properly, can attract interest from companies that are hiring. I have repeatedly observed actions that my clients neglect or overlook, causing them to become frustrated by a lack of results. Here are some points to keep in mind regarding networking:
- Your online profile represents your credentials as an employee and should be treated as such.
- Search and connect with companies and people in the same industry or field in which you are seeking to build a career.
- Keywords are imperative for finding matches of jobs, people and companies. Research positions requiring the same knowledge, skills, and abilities as yours. Be prepared to make changes and additions to your key words depending upon the terms used in the marketplace.
- Be very clear about what position, career, and type of company you are looking for. Be able to concisely state what it is that you can bring to their company, making you a desirable candidate. Work on a couple of 30 – 60 second sound bites that advertise and brand you.
Job hunting is difficult and requires a systematic approach to marketing in this tough job market. It is not impossible to get a job. It may take you much longer than it did before the economic downturn. Job seekers who learn the nuances of each step and stage of job search will prevail and find a job sooner than their competition. The Art of Survival and the coaches of LifePath Associates LLC offer many support resources to help struggling job hunters. We’re dedicated to offering different resources to help you move forward with strength, confidence, and clarity. The fact that you are reading this article shows you have courage.
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