Being unemployed is a stressful, uncertain experience. But there are things a job seeker must do to ensure a successful search, and more importantly, things they must avoid doing. There are a number of common mistakes applicants make which can shoot down their chances of getting a job.
Here are a few common missteps, and how you can avoid them:
No Cover Letter
Your résumé may tell employers what you’ve done, but cover letters are your chance to tell them exactly why they should hire you. In a crowded job market, a good cover letter is another string on your job-hunting bow, so to simply pass up an opportunity to bolster your application is foolhardy. Additionally, while some employers don’t require cover letters, others won’t even consider your application without one. Don’t lose a chance at a great job because you couldn’t take the time to write a one-page letter and really sell yourself.
As important as the cover letter is, your résumé is the keystone of almost any job application, and when it comes to a résumé, less is more. Remove excess prose that gets in the way of key information. Make every entry on your résumé serve the purpose of arguing for your hiring. Tweak your entries to reflect the specific requirements of each job you apply for (but not too much or it will look like you’re copying and pasting the job description).
You also have to strike a balance between creativity and professionalism. Using standard résumé templates will turn employers off by suggesting you don’t have the skills or creativity to format your own résumé. On the flip side, overly whimsical offerings with excessive graphics, odd font choices, and lots of colors will give the impression that you are unprofessional and don’t take things seriously.
And finally, don’t lie, don’t pad your résumé, and don’t apply for jobs you’re woefully unqualified for. Employers will not be impressed, and stretching the truth could cost you a job and get you blacklisted.
In the modern age, it’s easier for employers to cast a wider net and bring in more responses, but they’re just as likely to end up with a collection of old boots as they are a big tuna. Networking is still important, and a prior professional relationship can get your foot in the door. Use online social networking services like Twitter and LinkedIn, and become a member of any major professional discussion forum used in your field. Offline, pound the pavement to meet decision makers in your field and attend professional events in your area to get some face-to-face time.
Don’t allow rookie mistakes to keep you from finding work! Talk to us to learn about all the ways we can help you streamline your job hunt and give you a leg up in your search.