5 Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Job Search

5 Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Job Search

Job search taking way too long? Related: 3 Signs You're Sabotaging Your Job Search In my experience as a Career Strategist and Executive Resume Writer, I've found that the problem rarely lacks qualifications or opportunities, but rather self-defeating search strategies. You can have the greatest vehicle (read: career prospects) in the world, but if you don't know how to drive or have an accurate map to your destination, you'll go off the road!

Here Are 5 Big Reasons For Extended Job Search Times:

1. Assuming You'll Figure Out What Job You Want During The Search.

The complex, high-stakes marketplace you're entering as a job seeker is a nightmare for strategic planning. Which is why you need to know exactly what roles you're targeting, and how you stack up against the competition, before starting the search. This will save you huge amounts of time and wasted effort. Study LinkedIn Profiles of competitors with similar backgrounds to yourself. What types of roles do they currently have? What industry-to-industry jumps have they made? What qualities are they highlighting? All of this is valuable intel to narrow down your search parameters. Collect a set of job postings, at least 8-10, that you'd be a great fit for. What skills are being called out time and time again? What's their “image" of an ideal candidate? The goal here is to reverse engineer how you come across to fit that image within your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn presence and other materials. Better fit = more opportunities. Set up informational interviews with people who currently have the job you want, or those who regularly do business with them. This is a great way to understand the nuts and bolts of what you'll be doing on a day-to-day basis, as well as figure out what training/experience is essential and what's just nice to have.

2. Relying On A “Jack Of All Trades" Resume For Multiple Job Targets.

The more generalized your resume is, the less effective it will be. While it's perfectly fine to have more than one major job target, each will require a customized resume that brands you effectively, contains relevant industry keywords to pass scanning by Applicant Tracking Systems, highlights the most relevant aspects of your background (while minimizing non-relevant details) and perhaps most importantly, is chock-full of accomplishments. Taking the time to create separate resume versions (or hiring a pro to handle it for you) is a fantastic way to stand out from the pack and start generating more interviews.

3. Not Having An “Elevator Pitch."

When someone asks what you're bringing to the table, you need a confident answer. Preferably somewhere around 30-45 seconds tops. You can structure it as follows: 1-sentence branding statement. For example: I'm a Retail Marketing Expert with 15 years of experience in launching new product lines, transforming eCommerce strategies, and attaining double-digit revenue targets. Choose three relevant accomplishments or personal qualities to elaborate on. This is to add credibility to your branding statement. Wrap up with one sentence that clearly identifies your job target and where you want to go next. Practice constantly! You need to know this inside and out, and improvise on-the-fly as the situation dictates. Record yourself on video to see how you're coming across. A polished elevator pitch is a powerful job search tool.

4. Asking About Salary And Benefits During The First Interview.

You want to avoid the perception of being a WIIFM (What's In It For Me?) candidate. Of course you want to know how much you'll be getting paid and how many weeks of vacation your family can count on, but this comes later in the process. Focus on how you'll be delivering the most value, establish your expertise beyond all question, and you'll naturally create a stronger impression in the mind of an employer. Stronger impression = higher initial salary offer.

5. Not Explicitly Stating Your Passion For The Job.

Did you know that employers cite "lack of enthusiasm" as a major reason for passing over candidates? Take a moment early in the hiring process to share why you're excited about this job, and how you're truly invested in landing it. It can make a big difference.

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About the author

Anish Majumdar, CEO of ResumeOrbit.com is a nationally recognized executive resume writer, LinkedIn expert, and interview coach. Surveyed clients report a 40-60% reduction in placement times through working with him, and typically secure offers at least $10-40K higher. Schedule a free LIVE Resume Critique with Anish, or connect with him on LinkedIn. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert.
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