10 Most Common Job Search Mistakes

And What You Must Do to Fix them

Relying on your own personal experience and philosophies

Most job seekers base their job search methods and techniques totally on their own set of experiences. To do so will only serve to limit your opportunities.

Think like a marketer. Marketing professionals do not design their product advertising around their own personal preferences; instead they test and utilize approaches that appeal to a broader audience. Job seekers should learn how to do the same.

Being Too Closed Minded

Actually this is closely related to reason number one. Most of us have difficulty stepping outside our comfort zone and embracing new and/or alternative ways of doing things. This attitude will only serve to limit our job opportunities. Don’t rely on your own personal experience and philosophies, instead study and discover other methods that will open new career opportunities for you.

Using Only One or Two Resume Versions

One or two resume versions just won’t work. Don’t rely on a sample resume.  I’ve written extensively about this subject and my central message is that you have to “get inside the head” of the reader of your resume. The best clues for how to tailor your resume comes from the actual language of the specific job posting that you may be answering.

If you’re providing a resume to an employer on an exploratory basis – when they may not have listed a specific job – research their website to see if you can find information about the areas of your specialty and use that language. If you still can’t find information on the employer’s website in such cases, take the most common ad language content from 10-20 job ads that you can find and use the most common words, phrases and ideas.

Relying Too Much of the Big Job Boards

There are no best job search boards or best executive job search sites. Only about 10% – 15% of all jobs are advertised on the major job boards at any one time. That’s where your competition is the fiercest.

That leaves 85% to 90% of all jobs less visible. You’ve got to learn how to find them. Even among the 85% – 90% of available jobs, only a portion of them may be listed anywhere except possibly on employers own career websites. You have to learn which online job search engines to use that will search most of the employer websites from one location.

Failing to Properly Research Potential Employers

The question isn’t why you research potential employers, it’s how to research potential employers. You must conduct research of every potential employer that you pursue. They expect it and will almost always ask you about it.

One good method to use is to find something that you found interesting about the employer that hopefully may relate to your own job interests and skills. Be sure to bring that up during the interview when asked, and if you aren’t asked, look for a way to introduce it into the interview discussion.

One potential way to do that is to when you’re asked if you have any questions. You might repeat what you read in summary form, and then ask them for more information about it. This demonstrates your interest and desire to learn more.

Failing to Prepare Properly for the Actual Interview

Interview preparation tips can be invaluable. One such tip is to realize there are three types of interviews job seekers encounter that are most common and you must be prepared for each of them, or some combination of them. One is the more traditional, which usually follows the format of your resume.

The second type of interview is behavioral and this one has become very popular with many employers. It is more difficult to prepare for this type of interview, so the best way is to understand how to answer behavioral interview questions.

The third type of interview is the case interview where you are given either a real or hypothetical work situation and asked to discuss it with the interview team. These types of interviews are common for consultant, attorneys, but getting at least one mini-case question these days is very common.

Failure to Invest Enough Money in Yourself

With the coming of the Internet and all the information readily accessible to us, comes the attitude that we don’t ever need to pay for anything. This usually rears its ugly head for a job seeker when they are reluctant to pay for more expert advice and access to more efficient tools and techniques to help us not only in our job search, but in our career as well. Most people spend more eating out, than they are willing to invest in their career. You must be willing to invest in yourself not only in furthering your education, but in getting career advice as well.

Placing Too Much Emphasis on Salary Too Early

When is the last time you bounded out of bed, eager to get to your job because you made x amount of money? It isn’t likely that you’ve felt that way very often.

Most of us enjoy our work because of what we get to do, what we can learn and where our career is taking us. Of course all of us want to be compensated fairly and competitively. But to not be willing to explore a career opportunity because the first question we ask is, “how much does it pay?” is totally wrong headed.

First find out about the opportunity, both long and short term so you can understand how it may or may not fit your long term career goals, is simply short sighted.

Not having a Long-Term Career Vision

This picks up with the former mistake. If you don’t know which direction you want your career to head is like a sailboat under full sail without anyone manning the rudder. You’ll just end up wherever the wind takes you.

You must have a longer term vision for your career so that the decisions you make along the way takes you where you want to end up.

Not Being Open to New Opportunities All the Time

Now you’ve got a good job and your mind shifts totally away from looking for a job. Overall that is as it should be, up to a point.

When the headhunter calls or a colleague calls you about a career opportunity, are the first words out of your mouth, “I’m not looking or I’m happy where I’m at?” Both of those statements are true, but you should at least be open to explore the opportunity or hear more about it. Even if the time isn’t right for you to make a change or the job isn’t right, be open to suggest colleagues who may benefit from hearing about the opening.

Often the best opportunities come to you and without a lot of other competing candidates.

Failing to Build Career Networks 24 x 7

This is critical. Build your networks constantly and consistently so that when you need professional information or career guidance or help with a job search, you have a valuable network to rely on. It’s the concept of digging your well before you are thirsty.

LinkedIn is the most valuable network for doing that. Join relevant groups there and contribute to the discussions. You’ll be building your own reputation along the way. It’s like creating a savings account of goodwill so you can cash in when needed. The number one rule is to give first, before asking for anything. That way, you’ll have “cash in the bank” to use when you need it on short notice.