It’s a tough reality out there for job seekers. With 10.9 million Americans currently unemployed, there’s major competition for every new job that’s posted. Each application is a valuable opportunity to kickstart your career in the right direction, but only if you get the job.
As you may know, the process is far more complex than submitting a resume and hoping for the best. It takes long hours of searching, applying, interviewing, and waiting. No one wants to put all this effort into finding a job only to have one mistake bring it to a screeching halt.
Unfortunately, the following mistakes are very easy to make — causing you to lose sight of the prize and wind up unsuccessful, even after months spent job searching:
1. Quitting before you’re ahead
Just because you submitted an application for one job doesn’t mean it’s time to kick your feet up and wait for the offer to come in. You should apply to multiple jobs simultaneously to ensure your backup options are already in play, should you get turned away from your first choice. Don’t risk missing out on an opportunity just because you have one other application out. Your dream job just may be the second or third option on your list.
To avoid this mistake, keep your eyes and ears open at all time. Even if you’re currently interviewing with a company, so long as you haven’t accepted an offer, you should consider yourself still on the job market.
2. Underestimating the time commitment
Many job seekers underestimate the amount of time it takes to find employment. When unemployed, it’s easy to get distracted by errands, household chores, and taking care of family. But your job search needs time and attention to thrive as well. You get out of it almost exactly what you put in. If you want to land your dream job, you can’t aimlessly apply here and there — you must focus and be realistic about the time it will require.
To avoid this mistake, remember this: When you’re on the market, your job becomes finding a job. You should carve out a block of time each workday to search and apply for jobs. Treat it like any other important item on your agenda.
3. Ignoring your resume
You spend all this time looking for a job and preparing yourself for the interview, don’t undo all your efforts with a poor resume. Employers can tell when you don’t take the time to revamp your resume and tailor it specifically to the job. Not only does this demonstrate a lack of attention to detail, but it also gives off the first impression that you’re lazy or not serious about the job.
This is among the most common job search mistakes and very easy to avoid. First, consider the overall presentation of your resume. It should be organized, professional, and legible. Second, tailor the skills and experience on your resume to highlight what the job requires. For example, if you’re applying for a sales position, be sure to include specific sales experience and quantify your achievements with numbers. Finally, make it interesting: Recruiters will skip right over a dull and lengthy resume. Cut to the chase of what makes you stand out.
4. Setting unrealistic expectations
The job search takes time. If you find and accept your dream job within weeks of starting your search, you are among the very few and very lucky. The average length of time it takes most job seekers to find employment is upwards of eight months. Be realistic with your expectations of how long it will take and how easy it will be. One of the biggest job search mistakes is setting your hopes too high and giving up when things are harder than expected.
To avoid this mistake, write our specific goals for your job search. How many jobs will you apply to each week? How many hours will you spend each day searching the web? Break down your ultimate goal of landing a new job into smaller, more tangible ones that allow you to achieve regular progress. This will keep you inspired and in check.
5. Bombing the interview
One of the final and most crucial parts to any job search is nailing the interview. Easier said than done, right? There are so many interview mistakes that can be made, sending your job offer swirling down the drain as a result.
Avoid making the mistake of bombing your interview by first doing your research on the company and the position. Not only will this help you to look adequately prepared in the interview, it will also help give you confidence to go in there and know what you’re talking about.
Additionally, be professional! This includes your attire, mannerisms, attitude, and even how you speak about past employers. And it doesn’t hurt to follow-up with a thank you note. If the interview left the hiring manager on the fence, your sincere and timely thank you just might win them over.
6. Rushing into the process
You will forsake a quality application or stellar interview if you don’t slow down and take the time to think it through. This mad dash to take the first job you’re offered can also land you a position that you’re not happy with or isn’t best suited for your skills.
Avoid rushing through the job search process by forcing yourself to take time before making any major decision. Don’t submit that application late at night after hurriedly putting it together. Give yourself until the morning to look at it with a fresh set of eyes before hitting submit. Also, don’t accept a job or salary offer immediately. Ask for at least one day to process the decision and really consider whether it’s the best choice for you. Slow and steady wins the race for a job.
All in all, the job search process is a long and windy road. It requires time, realistic expectations, preparation, and above all else, determination. There will be days where you make progress and days where you’re set back. Avoid these mistakes to make the most of your job search experience and give you every advantage to land the job that’s best suited for you!
What do you think? What are some crucial mistakes you’ve made on the job search?
Robyn Melhuish is the Communications Manager at MedReps.com, a job board which gives members access to the most sought after medical sales jobs and pharmaceutical sales jobs on the Web. Connect with Robyn and MedReps.com on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.