10 Shocking Job Search Blunders

This article was originally published here

November 6, 2014

Ten job search blunders I find hard to believe.

By Bob McIntosh, Career Trainer

Some things are hard to believe. Like I stepped on my scale this morning expecting to be two pounds heavier, due to Easter weekend, and I was actually two pounds lighter. Or I deliver the best workshop of my life and receive less than stellar evaluations. What about my wife still talking to me after I haven’t installed a new screen door on our house three weeks after she’d asked me to?

Other things I find hard to believe are things that job seekers do in their job search. For example:

1. They tell me they have no accomplishments to list on their resume, so they have a resume that looks like a grocery list of duty statements. One of my customers told me that in five years of working at a company he hadn’t achieved anything great. Come on, try, guy.

2. They send the same resume to employers thinking targeted cover letters will address the requirements of a job. One customer admitted he sends out the same resume but makes sure to tailor the cover letter to meet the employers’ needs. Half way there.

3. Related to #2: They don’t send cover letters with their resumes. Come on, it only takes an hour at most to write a cover letter that elaborates more on your qualifications and accomplishments. Unless specifically told not to send a cover letter, send one.

4.They think it’s acceptable to dress like they’re going to the gym while they’re in public. You’re always on the hunt and you never know when someone who has the authority to hire you—or knows someone who has the authority to hire you—will bump into you in the grocery store. Networking is not only about going to organized events, it’s an everyday thing.

5. They start a social networking profile and just leave it there like a wilting plant. Do you think doing this will create a positive impression on recruiters and employers? No, it will do more harm than good. Personally, I hit Ignore when I’m invited to join someone’s network and he has absolutely nothing on it.

6. They spend the majority of their time on the computer, posting resumes to popular job boards. According to the book “What Color is Your Parachute,” your chance of success is between five to ten percent when using this method alone. To me, this is not a great use of jobseeking time.

7. They spend mere minutes researching companies and the jobs for which they apply before an interview. Really now, don’t you owe employers the respect of being able to articulate why you want to work at their company and do the job they’re advertising?

8. After getting laid off, they think it’s a great time for a three-month vacation, especially during the summer. Take a week off and then start your job search is my advice. Some downtime is healthy, but the longer you’re out, the harder it will be to get a job.

9. They expect recruiters to work for them. Who pays the recruiters’ bills? Recruiters work for employers, and any optimism you hear in their voice is to give you confidence when vying for the position, not to indicate you have the job. They’re busy people who don’t always have time to answer your phone calls or emails, so don’t feel slighted.

10. They don’t send a thank you note to employers after an interview. I know people say it’s a waste of time, but don’t go about your job search in a half-ass way. Thank you notes are an extension of the interview and could make you or…break you.

These are some of the things I find hard to believe. The majority of my customers don’t commit these blunders, but some of my customers make me scratch my head because I find them hard to believe.

About the Author

Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer at the Career Center of Lowell, where he leads more than 20 workshops on the career search. Bob is often the person jobseekers and staff go to for advice on the job search. As well, he critiques resumes and conducts mock interviews. One of his greatest accomplishments is starting a LinkedIn group, which is one of the largest of its kind in the state, and developing three in-high-demand workshops on LinkedIn. Bob’s greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. Please visit Bob’s blog at www.thingscareerrelated.wordpress.com.

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