5 Unhealthy Job Search Habits Keeping You Unemployed

Unemployed woman stares out the window as she looks for a job

Sometimes in life, our actions are completely counterintuitive. For example, deciding to go on a diet. The first thing most people do is think they must eliminate something or cut back. In reality, the challenge of a diet is you must add more good foods versus taking away bad foods. The good naturally replaces the bad. But, it's a huge challenge to plan and add good healthy foods to your diet five to six times a day versus going to the drive-thru two times a day. The same is true for your job search.

Are you going to get "job healthy" by adding good habits to your daily routine, or are you going to stay fat, miserable, and unemployed by choosing the “fast food" route? Of course, the challenge is to know what is healthy and what is not.

Here are the top five unhealthy job search habits and how to replace them with healthy ones:

1. Targeting Human Resources And Recruiters

Unemployed man on laptop and phone calls HR and recruiters to find a job


Yes, eventually you will likely have to talk to those folks, but they should be the last group you actually try to get in front of. Most people think they make the hiring decisions. They don't; the hiring manager does. And not only that, but the hiring manager is the one who has a vested interest in filling the position. They are the person who will lose sleep if the position is not filled.

So, change your habit of going to HR and instead start going directly to the source, or even better: get a referral to the source (that gives you the inside edge). You can accomplish this by networking your way into the company. Reach out to and connect with current employees on LinkedIn. Mention things you have in common, and explain why you're passionate about the company.

Also, HR and recruiters should be reaching out to YOU. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized so they can easily find you on the platform.

2. Thinking The Interview Has Anything To Do With You

Unemployed woman interviews for a job


In reality, your objective should be just like a salesperson when they are trying to make the sale. Your number one job is to serve others. And, the better job you do of proving that, the better you will be received.

You are a business-of-one. The interview has very little to do with you and everything to do with how you are going to solve the problems the company is facing. You find that out through research and good Socratic and behavioral interviewing.

3. Trying To Be The “Most Qualified Candidate"

Man shakes the hand of a hiring manager during his job search


Honestly, the most qualified person rarely gets the job. First of all, the most qualified person probably didn't even apply. Second, he or she may have the best technical qualifications and years of experience, but be an absolutely horrible fit for the culture and objectives of the company.

The best candidate is the best fit, the one who can help the organization meet its goals, not cause a huge rift, and stay for a long, long time. Simple enough, but more challenging to prove than just copying the qualifications from a job description and expecting an offer.

4. Using Quick Fix (Fast Food) Solutions

Unemployed woman on a laptop applies for a job online


The list goes on and on and includes "resume distribution" services, fancy resume writing packages, and SEO services. Unfortunately, all of these quick fixes have one thing in common: they are passive (and ineffective) ways to get a job.

That is also called gambling. Sure, sometimes they work; and sometimes people win the lottery. Instead, do what 80% of successful job seekers do and get proactively involved by researching and contacting as many companies and individuals as you possibly can.

It's always been about who you know. So, get out there and make new connections!

5. Posting Your Resume On Major Job Boards

Unemployed man on laptop makes the mistake of posting his resume to job boards


This may be the most unhealthy solution of all! Why? Because it serves our need for immediate gratification, yet gives us virtually no benefit. We feel like we have done something, but in reality, we just took a shortcut and went through the drive-thru. By taking the time to continually post your resume and apply for jobs you are taking valuable time away from healthy, proactive solutions.

Think about the act of posting a resume online. It's not even as good as buying a lottery ticket. At least when you play the lottery, you find out in a week or so why you didn't win! Taking the easy way out is what most people do (you know, because it's easy).

For true success, you have to do just the opposite of what most people are doing. Customize your resume for each position you apply for. Include the hard skills and transferable skills the job requires that you can quantify from your previous work experience. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but it's the best strategy to get your resume past the ATS and in front of the hiring manager.

Wow, we can see the job search fat just melting off! Congratulations, you have now joined the ranks of fit, active, fulfilled job seekers.

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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