What Are the Top 7 Job Search Fails?

failJob search taking longer than you expect? Not getting very many job interviews? Job offers not exactly flowing in?

That may be because how you are going about your job hunt is all wrong. And no matter how hard you work at a bad strategy, it’s still bad strategy.

So let’s debunk your outdated and ineffective beliefs that are leading to job search failure, starting with seven I see most often:

Fail No. 1: “I will find my next job by applying to a job online”

You may believe that if you apply to enough jobs, you’ll eventually beat the odds and land one. Well, at least applying for jobs makes you feel like you are productive. But did you know, only 15% of jobs are filled through job boards according to CareerXroads sources of hire survey?

Most jobs are either filled internally or through referrals. When you spend all your time and energy scoping out jobs and applying, you’re hurting your chances. So what else should you be doing?

Successful job seekers use a variety of tactics during job search such as contacting industry specific recruiting agencies or third-party recruiters, meeting one-on-one with past colleagues, attending professional association meetings, volunteering, and meeting new people every day. If this sounds daunting or almost impossible, remember, the statistic that says over 70 percent of people land jobs through networking.

Fail No. 2: “I  expect to hear a response (either yes or no) soon after I apply”

After you have taken time to research a company, modify your resume and go through the application process, you assume you’ll hear something. The reality is, you may not hear back from the company. Expect this to be the norm and take proactive steps.

Plan to follow-up with someone in Human Resources after you have submitted your application. Ask what the timeframe is for filling the job and then ask if your application was received. Always end every conversation by asking when you should follow-up next and with whom. The really eager job seekers will make that call the same day the application is submitted. The less assertive job seekers wait about a week.

Fail No. 3: “My cover letter always will be read in full”

You can’t make someone read your cover letter. In reality, some people will never read a cover letter and others won’t look at your resume until after reading your cover letter. And there are varying preferences in-between.

The bottom line is that you should always include a customized cover letter explaining specifically why you are interested and qualified for the job and share something about the company to show you are a fit. If you don’t take the time to do this, then why should the company take time to review your qualifications for the job?

Fail No. 4: “I’m networking…with people in Human Resources”

One of the many roles human resources serves is to fill open job requisitions. Often, they have numerous requisitions in the pipeline and the number one priority is to fill these jobs. Requesting to network with human resources is not in your best interest nor in the best interest of the busy human resources professional. They probably don’t know about all future openings or department level plans and even if they did, the advice you get would be to wait until you see something posted.

Invest your time reaching out to peer-level employees inside a company and learn about how these employees landed the job, what the company culture is like and the skills and responsibilities required in the job.

Fail No. 5: “I can only network AFTER the job has been posted”

You see the perfect job posted and believe you’re a match. With great excitement, you reach out to someone inside the company only to get ignored or brushed off. You’re doing the right thing so why isn’t it working?

You’re too late to the party. That job has probably been circulating inside the company for weeks. The person you are contacting may even be in the running for the job. The best time to network is in advance of job opportunities being posted. In fact, networking after a job has been posted really isn’t networking. It is tracking down a job. While this isn’t bad, in fact, it is recommended, it isn’t truly networking.

Start identifying companies that you would like to work for and begin networking before jobs are posted.

Fail No. 6: “I’ll land an interview for every job I apply to”

If you’ve purposely submitted a vague or general resume with the hope the recruiter will call for more details, think again. Most of the time, you will not receive a call. Recruiters, human resources or the hiring manager only call you if you are a good match for the job. If your application and resume don’t show how you are a perfect match for the job, the recruiter has very little interest in speaking with you.

Fail No. 7: “My resume is the most important job search tool”

It is important to have a well-written resume. However, how many hours do you spend updating, modifying, tweaking and adapting it? Too many. The numerous hours you spend hiding behind a computer screen means you aren’t spending time on the phone reaching out to people or attending one-on-one networking meetings. Invest your time wisely. How many people will actually take the time to thoroughly review your resume and ask you questions about each job you held? Much of the detail you obsess over is irrelevant to hiring professionals or will be overlooked in haste.

Spend less time obsessing over your resume and more time meeting new people and learning about the needs, wants and desires of people in the industry you desire to work in!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa!


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HannahAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa, and follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!



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