10 major mistakes to avoid when looking for a job
Please someone get me a job
Looking for a job is more difficult than it used to be. In the past you went to the corner 7-11, picked up a copy of your local paper and fished through want ads, circling those great jobs. The game has changed and so have the rules. Here are ten mistakes that you should avoid when searching for your next job.
1. Where to find jobs
The first mistake many make when looking for work is where and how they look. Many people still resort to the want ads--either online or in print. Many great jobs never make it to job boards. One good way to combat this is to pick the places you want to work and check for openings. Even if you have to take a lesser position, getting your foot in the door is half the battle.
The job interview
2. Getting ready for a job interview
The job interview is like a first date. The person behind the desk will ask you a series of questions designed to know what your skills are, what kind of person you are, and why they should choose you over the other two hundred applicants. The biggest mistake you can make is allowing this to intimidate you. The person on the other side of the desk would like nothing more than for YOU to be the right candidate for the position. They very seldom enjoy the interview process any more than you do.
Be confident that YOU are the right one for the job. If not, why are you there?
3. Job interview clothes--are you dressed for failure?
When you go to your interview dress for success. Have an interview outfit that you know fits well, doesn't show it when you sweat, doesn't wrinkle, isn't revealing, is professional and tailored. Trim your nails, cut your hair, remove your tongue ring (unless you are applying for a job as a rock musician or tattoo artist), and polish your shoes. Don't spray on perfume or after shave--too many people are allergic.
Your first impression should be not only your best, but it should be a pay grade above what you are applying for. if you are applying for a receptionist job, dress like you are applying for the VP position.
4. What does your social network page say about you to a potential employer?
Do you have a Facebook account that has pictures of the drunken party you attended last Saturday? This could cost you a potential job interview. If you brag about things to your friends on your MySpace account that might embarrass your grandma, it will likely kill the possibility of an interview. If you Tweet, Bing, Blurb, or Hub, your potential employer may be Googling you and finding out much more than you revealed on your resume. If it would make your mom blush, it will probably cost you a job interview.
5. I'm gonna get me a job, uh huh.
Believe it or not, BFF, OMG, BTW, and WTF, have no place in a job search--not in an email, on a resume, or any other written correspondence. Use real English words. And again, if it makes your mom blush, don't let it fall out of your mouth--even if the interviewer says it.
One other thought--If you hope to find a job that pays better than minimum wage, you also need to speak well. Not being able to communicate is one of the major problems with employees today.
6. You need to interview your potential employer
When you finally land a job interview, ask questions. First, it makes you seem interested in the job. Second, you need to know who is hiring you. Do you want to work for them? A job interview is a two-way street.
If you leave an interview thinking what a jerk the guy was, do you want to spend the rest of your natural life working for him? No matter how desperate you are, if the person is a miserable person in the interview, you can bet your life will be hell on earth working at that company.
7. Did you do all you could
A great job requires job skills. It also requires perseverance. If you dropped off your resume, completed the job interview, and are now sitting by the phone four weeks later waiting for the phone to ring with the news, you probably didn't get the job.
Follow up after the interview. Show you care. Show you have manners and send a thank you card. You will probably be the only one who does. Talk about standing out from the crowd. Call a week later to let them know you are still interested. Call the next week and tell them you saw the companies stock quotes go up and you are looking forward to being part of a winning team. Don't be obnoxious, just interested and enthusiastic.
Follow up, follow up, follow up.
8. Your resume, your life history
This one is a job killer. When you apply for a job ask yourself, "How is my job history, my education, and my experiences relevant to the position?" You do not have to put your entire life history on a resume. Furthermore, each job you held in the past can have different applications to the job you are applying for today.
For instance, if you sold cars for a couple of years, and are now applying for a customer service job, the skills you focus on from sales are communication skills, working well under pressure, and problem solving. All three translate well for a customer service position.
You might consider hiring a professional writer to craft a resume for you.
9. Keep your options open
For the last ten years you have worked as a truck mechanic. Your company went under and you are out of a job. Will you look for jobs at other trucking companies? Why limit yourself? What about working as a barge mechanic? Or how about in maintenance at a local Hyatt?
You may find a job in the maintenance engineering department of a major software company. If you have mechanical skills there is a lot more out there that needs fixing. Broaden your horizons and think about different industries that require the same kinds of skills
10. Hiding in your house nursing a beer and watching mid morning TV
Why are you just sitting there? Get out of the house and get around people. Join a health club. Join a rock climbing group. Go back to church. Volunteer for a kids sports team. Walk around your block and say hello to everyone you meet. Be friendly. Spark up conversations. You have heard the saying, "it's not what you know it's who you know."
Well if all the "whos" you know are also out of work, they can't help you.
Hang out with employed people who may get to know you, like you, and recommend you for the job in their department that is coming up vacant that will never get listed on a job board.
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