You may have heard the saying that “finding a job is a job in and of itself.” This can be quite true. Launching a successful job search campaign requires solid strategy, preparation and execution – elements known to involve time, effort and patience. A major part of the preparation that determines your success is being aware of the mistakes that could sabotage your efforts, and making sure to avoid them.
Key job search blunders to steer clear of include:
1. Sending Out Generic Résumés and/or Cover Letters. Recruiters and prospective employers are well aware when they receive a generic résumé or cover letter. In these current times, when customization is the standard, you need tailored job search documents. Even if you are highly qualified, you can be tossed into the “no” pile for failing to show how you can add value in a specific role. It is best to determine the key requirements for a position and to highlight how your experience is a match for the employer’s needs. Personal branding is a concept that very much applies to your career marketing materials.
2. Believing That Online Applications Alone Will Land You A Job. Don’t limit your job search to online applications. An estimated 70- 80% of opportunities are part of the “hidden job market” (i.e., they are not advertised publicly). Many senior-level positions are now filled through referrals and executive recruiters. Therefore, networking is critical. Talk to people you already know and make an effort to connect with new people, especially those in your target industry as well as the headhunters/recruiters who fill the vacancies within your niche. It is also important to establish a strong presence on LinkedIn. This not only allows you to connect with others, but also serves as a great way to be found by those who are searching for potential candidates with your background.
3. Being Unprepared. Failing to do your homework before an interview can leave a negative impression on the company. Before speaking with a prospective employer, it is best to conduct research. This may include looking at the company website, reviewing public documents such as the latest annual report and researching the person conducting the interview.
4. Not Keeping Your Job Search Under Wraps. Generally speaking, candidates who are employed while job hunting should be very careful not to inadvertently make everyone aware of their search. Some key ways to protect oneself are:
Notifying companies and headhunters up front that you are conducting a confidential search.
Disabling LinkedIn profile update notifications to your network.
Not applying to positions that do not specify the company. (It could be your own employer or a venture capital firm backing your company!)
5. Not Seeking Professional Help. Let’s face it: job seekers sometimes need assistance. That could be in the form of a career coach, a résumé writer or an image consultant. The key is determining what you need and finding the right professional who can best assist you in achieving your goals. This is especially important if you have not conducted a job search in a while and/or you are unsure of how to navigate today’s complex landscape.
Not sure if you have the right tools for a successful job search? ExecBrands offers résumés, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and more to help executives optimize their professional branding. Additional information on our services is available here. Feel free to email us directly with questions or to schedule a complimentary consultation.
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