Common Errors to Avoid in Job Hunt | Jobs In MD

Common Errors to Avoid in Job Hunt

By: Judi Perkins

Losing one's job isn't a comfortable scenario for anyone, but people more experienced in their career and further up the ladder are hit especially hard. Visualize a pyramid. The higher up you go, the fewer positions exist.

Salaries are bigger which means personal expenses are larger, especially with a family involved. When two incomes suddenly become one, or one income suddenly becomes nothing, backup reserves are drained quickly.

Many seekers who have been employed for 10 or 20 years have a few jobs under their belt and have switched employers several times. When companies across the board were hiring, it was easier to bounce back.

Common Mistakes

Having spent three years running a local temp/perm agency, 15 years in contingency recruiting, and four years as a retained recruiter, I see the same mistakes and assumptions at every level of expertise and salary range. There are three components involved in finding a job and few people are top notch in all three or as effective as they could be at them.

The Three Components

1. The cover letter should not be generic. It should use words from the ad - not concepts but exact words. Take what they want, and talk about a specific instance of your experience in that exact area. Again, use their words. I do Edit/Find to check it with my clients.

2. Resumes are frequently done in templates. Here are some common issues with this:

  • Text boxes that leave too much white space
  • Too much double spacing with wide margins
  • Text crammed onto one page in a tiny font
  • Large blocks of text, too bulky to invite reading.
  • Bullets of general job descriptions, failing to distinguish individual accomplishments

3. Interviewing skills are lacking. No one has any depth to what they're looking for beyond a "growth" company or a "progressive" company or a "company that respects its people." Consequently interview questions are about the company and not about the position. They focus on getting the job, forget that an interview is a two-way street and don't know how to create a dialogue. They have no idea how to sell themselves, nor that they need to, and all the control is with the interviewer.

Ineffective Outcomes

Applying to ads in an under or overly discriminating fashion plus job seekers' failure to understand recruiters, leads to bad results. Job seekers end up hating them all, effectively cutting off this avenue. Cold calling, if done at all, is often done inconsistently or incorrectly. The default becomes networking - except everyone else is unemployed, too - and for those without a network, it's not an option.

Combine these and your average job seeker is operating at about 35 percent effectiveness. In a competitive market, no wonder there's a problem. Unfortunately, people don't realize that job searching involves skill sets, just as what one does for a living is composed of skill sets.

Learn More

Now that you know what you're doing wrong, keep reading this column, or sign up for my free newsletter, you'll learn how to do things to get results.

Judi Perkins is the How-To Career Coach and was a recruiter for 22 years. She worked with hundreds of hiring authorities, set up/followed up on over 15,000 interviews, and consistently broke sales records by building relationships with clients and paying attention to details. Her insight into the hiring authority's mind has led to many of her clients finding jobs within 8 to 12 weeks because her focus and orientation is considerably different from that of other coaches. She's been on PBS's Frontline, SmartMoney magazine, CareerBuilder, MSN Careers, Hot Jobs, the New York Times, New York Daily News, and featured as an expert in numerous career books.