As a career coach and job search expert, when somebody calls me for a consultation on their job search strategies and techniques, I can quickly uncover multiple issues that hinder, if not halt, their job search. Here are some of the common mistakes you need to avoid.
1. A Non-ATS Compatible Resume
ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System. It is the scanning application that can instantly screen you out if you don’t have a resume that meets the demanding and established format of this computer application. You can never beat a computer, but you can at least try and match it by having the correct resume format.
2. Spealling Missteaks
Say no more! One typo, one spelling mistake, and you don’t get a second chance to make that first impression. You are gone just simply because you were not judicious in proofreading your resume. Have a friend or acquaintance review it for correct grammar, punctuation and spelling.
3. Using Sloppy Verbiage on your Resume
This is a powerful and impactful document. Eliminate words such as etc. If you are using abbreviations, make sure you spell out the abbreviation in full the first time it is used in the resume.
4. An Unprofessional Email Address
I can write a book on the unprofessional email addresses I have seen. Some are hilarious, some are sad, and some are downright rude. You may think of yourself as a sexy kitten, but we don’t hire sexy kittens. We hire real people with real names. So, eliminate those personal, often funny, email addresses for your professional interactions.
5. Wrong Attire at the Interview
First impressions count. When you enter the building, normally the receptionist is asked to screen the interviewees. And then you step into the room where the scrutiny of your attire will be apparent. Dress appropriately. Don’t have odd socks or, as I have heard recently, odd shoes. Be neat. Be tidy. Be presentable. Be professional in your attire. Combine that with a well-groomed hairstyle and good personal hygiene.
6. Your Smartphone
Your cell phone number should be clearly included on your resume, but please, please, don’t answer it during an interview. How ignorant and unprofessional is that! You are gone as a candidate just simply because of that. Power off your phone and forget that it is there.
It is acceptable to be nervous prior to, during, or after an interview. But, remember, your interviewer may also be nervous as interviewing may not likely be at the top of their favourite job duties. However, don’t be too nervous to smile and show your human side. Don’t be too nervous to introduce yourself with a good, but not bone rattling, handshake.
8. Using Job Boards
Sadly, there is a lot of ignorance about job search. Many people, even at the senior executive level, think that most jobs are advertised online. WRONG! Only a slim minority of jobs in the western world are advertised. The others are sourced through executive recruiters and employment agencies, and most are hidden.
9. Failing to Use Your Network
Sit down and list the people you know from your school days, community and faith activities, hobbies, friends, family and acquaintances. You will be surprised to see how many people you know. Plus, you should be highly connected on LinkedIn, preferably with a minimum of 500 connections to get the maximum attraction from both Google and career decision makers. The potential of your network is vast. Their potential in referring you, or at least generating leads, is huge.
10. No Follow-Up After an Interview
Courtesy costs nothing. You are in a competition. The race is not over until you receive the offer. After you leave the interview, relay your thanks to the interviewer or the panel of interviewers by communicating with them, preferably by sending a hand-written thank you note for their time, highlighting your candidacy for that position. When was the last time you received a thank you note by snail mail?
11. Not Expressing your Enthusiasm for the Job
An interview is your opportunity to create excitement and engagement with the interviewers. It is a grandstand for you to shine above the competition and express your enthusiasm and your skill set for the job. Be persuasive in showing how keen you are to fulfill the obligations of the appointment.
12. Inconsistent Information Between your LinkedIn Profile and your Resume
I am constantly amazed at how many times a week I see resumes with a different story from the LinkedIn profile. Even as far as job titles and company names. This blows my mind! You must synergize your company name, dates of employment and job title between your resume and your LinkedIn profile. What message does that show a potential employer if it is inconsistent?
13. Feeling Down about Rejection
Rejection is hard to take for everyone. However, it is a part of your job search life. You are not going to win every race, so move on to the next opportunity quickly. The more you are rejected, the closer you are to a win.