If you are about to embark on a search for a new job, either by force or by choice, make sure you avoid these mistakes. You are going to need to use a different approach from the last time you looked.
#1 Be clear about what you are looking for
Don't just tell people you are looking for a new job. They probably don't know how to help you find one either. Be specific, even if you aren't sure.
"I am pursuing a new job. I think I would like to try something different and I have always wanted to be a teacher. Could I get your advice on related careers you may see me in?"
"I would like your help. I want to work for a company like ABC. What do you know about them?"
If you are sure, then provide your listener with focus to best help you.
"As I look for a new physicist position, I would like your help in finding connections within optics or laser companies in the area. When would be a good time to sit down?"
#2 Don't spend all your time on-line
It is easy to get lured into the on-line job boards. Don't fall for that. The majority of jobs are secured through networking contacts. Limit the amount of time you spend hiding behind your computer. Also, make sure that you are not logged in during the hours of 9am-5pm. That is prime time for connecting with people in person.
#3 Customize your resume for each job you apply for
It takes time to customize and re-order the bullets under your work history, however, you want to make sure the employer is seeing the correct/relevant examples of your experience in order to see how you'll be a fit. If it isn't on the resume, the employer doesn't know about it.
You may think the cover letter explains it all…however, not every person reads a cover letter. It is a personal preference. Yes, write one, but don't expect it to explain what your resume doesn't address about why you are qualified for the job.
There are plenty of other areas for improvement, but those are three of the most important. Here are some other suggestions for starting your search off correctly.
- Get on LinkedIn and make sure your profile is complete and that you have over 50 really solid connections.
- Develop a marketing plan and identify 50+ target companies
- Practice your answers to interview questions starting today
- Don't be a solution to every one's problems, know what you are good at and stay focused
- Research companies and learn
- Invest in professional development
- Attend professional associations
- Become involved in volunteer groups that align with your values
Finding your next job will take longer than you want. Some of that is out of your control. Have a good plan and follow it, but don't forget to assess the results. If it isn't working, try something different or read Why Isn't My Job Search Working?
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.