Top 5 Mistakes Job Hunters Make

By Linsey Knerl | August 25, 2011 AAA
Top 5 Mistakes Job Hunters Make

The job search game has changed quite a bit over the past decade; applications are now processed online, and social media accounts are becoming just as valuable in reviewing applicants as the actual resume. Before you presume that the old rules don't apply, however, check out these classic errors that could be costing you the next big job opportunity. (Find out how to decide between these two financial professions. See Broker Or Trader: Which Career Is Right For You?)

TUTORIAL: How To Write A Business Plan

Going Out of Your League
It's nice when you feel confident in your abilities, and most employers will applaud any self-assured applicant over someone who needs continual coaching to perform. By applying for a job that you are seriously not competent to do, however, you waste your time in submitting the application and the time of the hiring manager. When HR departments continually receive applications from prospects that practice serious "wishful thinking," it can turn them off to considering you for any future and better-suited opportunities, as well. Keep your job searches to just those you are actually competent to handle, and keep your CV out of the shredding machine.

Running from the Past
If you called up a past employer and anonymously asked what they thought of your performance, what would they say? Unfortunately, it just takes one historical error (or perceived lack of performance) to taint the perception of all future employers. Your best bet is to make sure that you leave your jobs on good terms, but if that isn't possible, find out what they are saying about you before you continue the job search. professions.

Ignoring Your Weaknesses
No one is perfect, so forget about trying to pass yourself of as faultless at your next interview. In fact, the traditional advice of "make a strength seem like a weakness" may backfire, as many hiring managers have heard one too many claims of workaholic tendencies and trying too hard at a career. Instead of playing the same game, it may be best to present your case honestly, and explain how a past weakness has actually been resolved in your life. For example, you used to be slightly unorganized, but a change in processes has allowed you to be more productive at your past job and even enriched your home life. Showing that you can solve problems and make a lasting change may be more valuable than the interview "doublespeak" HR teams are becoming numb to.

Failing to Find Out about the Company
Doing a little research about the job you'll be applying for isn't just smart, it's essential. When finding data to present in an interview or on an application, however, avoid reciting useless facts and one-liners from the latest press releases. Instead, seek to answer questions such as: What kind of charity groups is the company aligned with? Does the CEO have a unique hobby that you also care about? Will there be any new projects in the coming months that could specifically benefit from your expertise? By giving your demonstrated knowledge of the company a personal touch, the hiring manager will be forced to see that you can do more than memorize quotes for their website; they will realize that you are willing to understand the vision for their business.

Not Following Directions
Last, but certainly not least, is the most avoidable of all mistakes, and it involves a skill that should have been learned in Kindergarten: do what the application process tells you. While we would like to think that there is some secret code to getting your application to the top of the pile, it more than likely involves timing, a little luck and following directions to the letter. If the employer explicitly states "no phone calls, please" - by all means, don't call! If a resume is required instead of a CV, you have better do what they say. Failing to follow directions does more than send your application to the trash bin; it demonstrates your inability to complete a basic task - something a future employer will not take lightly.

The Bottom Line
As competition for jobs increases, it's important that you not waste time by making major errors in the application process. Slow down, stay on task and make informed decisions in the jobs you choose to aim for. Attention to detail really does count! (It's not just your friends who can find your information - potential employers may visit as well. Check out 6 Career-Killing Facebook Mistakes.)

comments powered by Disqus
Related Articles
  1. Want To Sell Life Insurance? Read This ...
    Entrepreneurship

    Want To Sell Life Insurance? Read This ...

  2. Trying On Potential Employers
    Professionals

    Trying On Potential Employers

  3. How To Improve Your Leadership Skills
    Personal Finance

    How To Improve Your Leadership Skills

  4. 5 Skills That Traders Need
    Investing Basics

    5 Skills That Traders Need

  5. Trader vs Investment Banker: Which Job ...
    Professionals

    Trader vs Investment Banker: Which Job ...

Trading Center