The Top FiveMistakes Job Hunters Make
(And How ToAvoid Them!)
This is the second in a two-part series on the mistakes people make relative to job hunting. Today we’ll discuss the final three. Earlier we talked about the first two: not looking for a job when you are comfortably employed, and not preparing a specific, proactive search plan.
The following mistakes are just as serious as the FIRST TWO.
3. If I can just get my resume into shape, I know I’ll get a great job!
The sin here is not wanting a good resume; it’s believing that the resume will get you a great job if it’s just good enough. People looking for a job go in constant search of the perfect resume style or format as though it were the Holy Grail. The idea that you can develop the perfect resume that you can email or mail out and cause the hiring world beat a path to your door is ludicrous. There is no“perfect” resume. And depending on your resume to get you a great job is You need to understand that when you play the resume game you are fighting huge numerical odds stacked totally against you.
But if you’re going to play that game, keep the following in mind:
1. Most resumes today are not read; they’re screened for key words, so make sure you include appropriate key words.
2. Many resumes never see a sheet of paper, thanks to our electronic age. But if you have to use paper, use good paper, not copier paper. Good paper says you’re good. Copier paper says you’re cheap.
3. It would be wise to save and send out your resume as a PDF file; that way, it’s more difficult for people to change (yes, I am paranoid—but the fact that you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t out to get you!). At least password-protect it.
Onward to number four:
4. I’m out there networking, but people are starting to avoid me.
The American concept of networking is going to everyone you know and saying, “Who do you know with a job? I need to get a job.” This is even recommended by some otherwise seemingly intelligent people in the outplacement and career management fields.
In doing thisyou are asking that person to put their reputation and a trusted relationship on the line, and sponsor you for a job. They don’t know you that well! Your friends and family especially are poor choices for this kind of activity, because they do know you. You are the person they have experienced, with all your foibles and shortcomings. They typically do not know you as a professional. So, even if you are the best int he world at what you do, you’re still their idiot cousin who embarrasses them every time you go out to dinner together.
In trying to get other people to do your job search for you, you not only put them in an untenable position, you give up total control of your search to people who won’t take it! Even if they do take responsibility, they’ll mess it up, because they don’t know what they’re doing! This is a good way to lose friendships, but not a good way to get a job.
5. This is a sales process and I am the product.
“Getting a job is a sales process, and you are the product.” Almost everyone looking for a job has heard this and believed it.
Think about it.What is a product? When I ask clients that question, I get a variety of answers, but they all center around some sort of package—a toaster maybe. Well, what kind of toaster would you buy? One with some rust on the outside, maybe with some old, hardened jam smears, and toast crumbs inside that fall out the minute you pick it up? No, it would have to be a bright, shiny, high-tech toaster that will wake you up to a beautiful morning accompanied by the smell of coffee and frying bacon. Oh, and it should have really attractive packaging!
Carry the thought one step further. If getting a job is a sales process, and you’re the product, then you have to be a nice, shiny product, with nice features and packaging.
This immediately puts you in a subservient role relative to the hiring manager. You will walk into the interview thinking,“If I answer the questions correctly, and I please this person, I may be rewarded with a job! I need a job! I need this job!” This, in turn, causes your role to change from “applicant for employment” to “supplicant for employment.” Nobody hires beggars.
Yes, the job search is a sales process, but you are not the product. The bag of skills, abilities, and experience that you bring to the job is the product.
So there you have it—five of the worst mistakes you could possibly make relative to the job search.
Tune in for more on the subject as we go along.