Searching for a new job, especially if you’re unemployed, takes time and patience. However, not everyone devotes the time and energy needed to land that new job. Here are the top mistakes people make when looking for a new job.
Not Putting in the Time Necessary
Looking for a job, particularly if you’re not working, is a job in itself. You should be spending several hours a day, most days of the week, looking for your job. The reason for this is that you need to get your resume out there to get called for interviews. If you aren’t applying, you’re not being considered for openings.
I’m always amazed when I see interviews with people who have been unemployed for a very long time and they have only applied for a small number of jobs. Unless your skills are highly specialized, the average person can apply for several jobs a day.
According to a 2011 study by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median length of unemployment is about ten weeks before employment is found. So, that means that half of people are unemployed for longer than ten weeks and half of people are unemployed for less.
If you worked a 40 hour work week, this means that you’ll have about 400 extra hours to devote to your job search. That’s a lot of time. Make sure you’re using this time to send out resumes, update your skills, and gear your resume/cover letter to each job listing so you can increase your chances of getting an interview.
People often say things like “Getting a job is about who you know.” Well, in many cases, this is true. So, you should be out trying to meet people in your field.
If you’re new to networking, it can be hard to know where to start. For this, the internet is a valuable tool. You can look up meetings for professional organizations, your local chamber of commerce, organizations for young (or not so young) professionals, and your university’s alumni association. Attending meetings like this help you to meet a variety of people who may have connections all over your area.
In addition to business and networking events, you can try other events that are likely to attract a professional crowd. This could be things like lectures at a museum or at a library. The people who attend these events may not be in your specific field but, it’s important to cast a wide net when looking for a job.
When networking, make sure you are nicely dressed. You don’t have to wear a suit if it’s not a suit occasion but, make sure you are neat, clean and dressed similarly to everyone else at the event. Also, it’s important to bring simple business cards with your name, phone number, and email address so you can quickly and easily give a potential contact your information.
Not Following Up
Once you do get an interview, make sure that you follow up within a day or two. According to my research, experts seem to be pretty evenly split as to whether a snail mail thank you card or an email thank you is the best way to go. However, all agree that you have to do something.
So, when you are at an interview, make sure you get the name of the person who interviewed you. If possible, get one of their business cards too. This is likely to have their direct contact information on it. Then, use your preferred method to follow up with your interviewer. This technique is simple but, it makes the interviewer think of you again after the interview and, hopefully, all of the wonderful things the two of you discussed.
When searching for a job, it’s important to use all the tools available to you. You never know when one of these things will lead to your next job.
What mistakes do you think job seekers should avoid? What have your job search experiences taught you about the process?
About the author: Jen Small is a writer who is originally from South Florida. A former recruiter for a Fortune 500 company, she has also worked in several different industries – real estate, insurance, construction, and education. Jen has now taken this experience to help others as a resume writer and designer. She currently lives and works in South Korea.
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