6 Crucial Mistakes That Job Seekers Make

By Robyn Melhuish

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.

Get Hands-On: The Importance of a Good Handshake in Your Job Search

When you’re unemployed, you will meet a lot of people as you network and interview to get your next job. Naturally, you can expect to shake a lot of hands.

Sure, a typical handshake only lasts a few seconds and is easily forgettable. Can you remember your last handshake with someone? Who was that person? Was it memorable? You have probably experienced a handshake with someone who had a weak grip. Maybe it was your fault that you grasped the other person’s fingers instead of their whole hand. Has someone ever grasped your hand incorrectly or squeezed too hard? What was your impression of that person?

If the average handshake is so easily forgettable, what’s the point of even discussing it? Well, have you ever had a bad handshake? Yes. You can remember those pretty well. From dead fish handshakes to finger-crushing ones, they tend to stick around in our memories.

As a job seeker, your handshake is probably the most neglected tool in your networking arsenal.

What’s the big deal?

Almost subliminally, a bad handshake can affect someone’s entire opinion of you. After meeting with you, do you want an employer to reflect back on you, thinking “they seemed great, but something was just off about them…”?

Additionally, if an employer makes note of your lousy handshake, it could affect the hiring process in a whole different way. Would an employer really want an employee interacting with customers if they’ve got a clammy grip? Probably not.

What can I do?

The handshake is so simple to do, right? So why does the bad handshake still happen? Don’t let a bad handshake keep you from the job of your dreams. Look out for clammy hands, misplaced grip, and learn how to impress with your handshake.

Clammy hands? Avoid clenching your fist, relax your hands palm down on the tops of your thighs, or keep your relaxed and open hands in your pockets.

Misplaced grip? You wouldn’t leave for an interview without looking at yourself in the mirror, would you? Practice your handshake right before an interview. A roommate, a parent, anyone who will give you the time of day and an honest opinion can give you practice and feedback on your handshake.

Is that it? The handshake is not slap or a high-five, and it is not an arm-wrenching motion like you’re pumping water from a well.

The perfect handshake is a smooth and swift, confident raising of your hand, which is placed firmly in the palm of your connection’s hand. It requires that you look that person in the eyes, hold a firm, but not too tight, grip and smile. Stifle your nerves and give a genuine smile with your eyes. When you smile you put the other person at ease, they smile, and you can both relax. This is your chance to connect with the other person. In the next few seconds, you will say something, ask a question, give a compliment, or comment on something you have in common, then release the hand, but hold that connection with the other person in the ensuing conversation.

Practice your handshake before your next interview. It is the best opportunity to make a solid first impression, and might just be the deciding factor that gets you hired.

How important do you think a good handshake is in the hiring process?

Tony Morrison is the Vice President at Cachinko, a unique professional community where social networking and job opportunities come together. His roles include sales, marketing, and business development. He is passionate about building B2B and B2C client relationships and brings this passion to Cachinko where he focuses on helping job seekers to find their ideal job and employers to find, attract, and engage their next rock star candidates. Find him on Twitter and Talent Connection. And, connect with Cachinko on Facebook or Twitter.

Love to Laugh! How a Sense of Humor Can Get You Hired

Everybody loves to laugh! It’s a universal language that everyone understands. Laughter is contagious. Have you ever laughed so hard you cried? Have you ever laughed simply because someone else was laughing? You may not even know why they are laughing, but you can’t resist the laughter. Enjoy it!

The job search is serious, but it doesn’t have to be humorless. While it’s not okay to suddenly become a complete clown in an interview, it’s completely genuine to have a sense of humor.

Check out these three reasons why a sense of humor can get you hired:

Show you’re human

Unless you’re being hired to work alone in a box full-time, employers don’t necessarily want to hire someone with a robotic personality. Making a joke or laughing at something in an interview shows that you can appreciate humor in a situation. It usually will not ruin your job prospects.

Check out: 3 Interview Rules That Are Okay to Break

Lower your stress

Mom always said laughter is the best medicine, and she was right. Laughing relaxes the whole body, boosts the immune system, and protects the heart. Doesn’t that sound appealing? A less-stressed you will be able to get more done faster and effectively. Healthy employees with a cheerful disposition are far more attractive than their stressed-out counterparts.

Check out: Should Something You “Like” on Facebook Affect Your Chances of Being Hired?

Strengthen connections

People bond over shared experiences. We tend to gravitate towards other people who make us feel good. When you are on friendly terms with your professional colleagues, you can count on a stronger network. Next time your resume needs a second look or you’re looking for a stellar recommendation, think about the last person with whom you shared a joke or laughed so hard you nearly fell out of your seat.

Check out: 5 Ways to Make Your Online Profile Work for You

Be warned: humor in the workplace is worlds different than humor with your drinking buddies. While it is perfectly fine to be laid back, know your boundaries or you might be out in the cold.

Do you think a sense of humor actually helps you in your job search? Why or why not?

Tony Morrison is the Vice President at Cachinko, a unique professional community where social networking and job opportunities come together. His roles include sales, marketing, and business development. He is passionate about building B2B and B2C client relationships and brings this passion to Cachinko where he focuses on helping job seekers to find their ideal job and employers to find, attract, and engage their next rock star candidates. Find him on Twitter and Talent Connection. And, connect with Cachinko on Facebook or Twitter.

4 Silly Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job

Everyone makes mistakes. Shoot, we’re only human, right? From time to time, we might trip on our shoelaces or leave the freezer door open. It happens.

When you’re unemployed and the job market is competitive, there isn’t much room for silly mistakes, especially when one tiny flop could cost you the interview, the callback, or the job. Check out these four silly mistakes that can cost you the job:

You forgot to proofread.

I can state from experience that “pubic relations” will elude your spell check and make you the butt of a joke you won’t think is funny. Sure, that little red squiggle can get you out of a lot of jams, but nothing replaces the human eye. Read everything you write at least twice before sending to an employer or publishing online.

Check out: Searching for a Job? 7 Red Flags Employers Don’t Want to See

You stressed out.

It happens to everyone. The overwhelming pressure to “not screw up” damages your confidence and trips you up anyway. Obviously, my telling you to have confidence isn’t going to get you anywhere. Figure out a stress relief technique that can help you relax before important meetings and interviews.

Check out: 5 Ways to Banish Job Search Stress

You left your professionalism at the door.

Just because you can do 99% of your job search on the computer, in your pajamas, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to look and seem professional! Look at what you present to employers, from your email address to your LinkedIn and other social networking sites photos. Even if you’re just sending in a resume, make sure that anything that can be found about you says, “I’m professional! Even when I’m off the clock, I know how to handle myself.”

Check out: Don’t Announce You’re Job Seeking on Facebook If You’ve Befriended Your Boss

You didn’t use your resources effectively.

It’s amazing how much potential job seekers will ignore. From optimizing your resume to networking with your friends, job search opportunities are truly endless! If you find that you’re not getting the results you want, look at what you’re doing and see what else can be done. Sometimes, you really just need someone else to tell you what’s right in front of your nose.

Check out: 6 Critical Resources for the Job Seeker

Has a silly mistake ever cost you a great job? What happened?

Tony Morrison is the Vice President at Cachinko, a unique professional community where social networking and job opportunities come together. His roles include sales, marketing, and business development. He is passionate about building B2B and B2C client relationships and brings this passion to Cachinko where he focuses on helping job seekers to find their ideal job and employers to find, attract, and engage their next rock star candidates. Find him on Twitter and Talent Connection. And, connect with Cachinko on Facebook or Twitter