Common deadly mistakes by Job Hunters

1: Relying too much on the Internet

Of course it’s a wonderful tool. But using the Internet is not the same as looking for work. In fact, for quite a few people, using the Internet is a good way to hide from looking for work. If that seems too direct, ask yourself: How many people do you know who have gotten a job on the Internet? It doesn’t mean you should shut off your computer – just don’t use screen-time as a substitute for face-time. Make the most of the Internet by using it to research companies and to keep up with issues in your field. Use e-mail for one of your contact methods but not as the only way to connect with employers. Be very selective about responding to jobs posted on the Web. Most Web forms are glorified applications and few offer enough contact information to allow you to follow up. If you can’t follow-up, how will you get an interview?

2: Not networking

If you have become tired of this term, or confused by it, call it “talking to people” instead. Because that’s all that networking is. What you say and who you say it to are optional, but the actual talking is not. You have to choose some people to ask for advice and some to ask for leads and some just to be supportive. Without this net (think “safety net”) of people to help you, you will never hear about the unadvertised jobs, or get referred as the “must-see” candidate. Start your networking by telling everyone you know what kind of work you are seeking. Then assign yourself to at least one gathering per week, whether it’s a community meeting or a workshop. Once there, talk to at least one new person. Repeat until employed, and long after. Critical in this network should be one good Recruiting firm with a proven track record of placements in your job skill area.

3: Not strategizing interviews

Strategizing is not the same as practicing, although both are important. To practice is to go over key points in anticipation of likely questions. To strategize is to identify those key questions and points and to place them in a context. Which will be the most important, and why? How do you know? Whom have you asked? To build your interview strategy, ask yourself: What does this employer most need in this position? Which of these things do I have? What examples can I give? Who else will be competing for this job? How do I stack up? How will I stand out? The answers differ for every opening, so create a new strategy for each interview. When working with a Recruiting firm, a knowledgeable recruiter will be well informed on these areas for you.

4: Not taking interim employment

If your job search is going to take, or has taken, more than a month or two, you need at least a part-time job. Even if your wages are swallowed up by child care and transportation, you will still benefit from increased contacts and self-esteem. What about the damage it will do to your job search? If you maintain at least 20 hours a week for contacting employers, you will still be outstripping the average job seeker. In fact, you may be more disciplined when you don’t have “all day” to make your calls. And it definitely sounds better to tell a prospective employer that you’ve been working part-time than to say that you’ve been looking for work…. how long?

5: Having no timeline

When do you plan to be employed again? The keyword in that question is not “when”, but “plan.” Without a timeline, you can’t set a pace. Likewise, without checkpoints to monitor your progress, you can’t troubleshoot your job search or move to a Plan B. Don’t let another day go by without a goal date for re-employment. Using that date, work backward to determine how many jobs you need to apply for and how many contacts you have to make each day for this to happen. As a rough guide, use the sales formula for cold calls: If one out of 10 people will accept your call, and if one of every 10 of them will buy your product, you need to make 100 cold calls to make a sale. So count on making 100 contacts for every job offer. How many contacts will you make today to get your job by your goal date?