The frustration that comes along with finding a new job often results in poor decisions and hasty mistakes. When seeking a new job, it’s important to be on top of your game. The job market is too competitive for you to be mediocre in your approach or presentation. These 5 blunders can result in missed opportunities and should be avoided at all costs:
Harassment: While it’s important to be persistent and assertive, it’s never okay to harass a potential employer. Constant phone calls, e-mails, LinkedIn messages, or Twitter mentions are more of a turn-off than they are impressive. No one wants to hire someone who is overly eager, annoying or obsessive. Use the 3-Strike Theory© as your rule of thumb. If you’ve tried to make contact with an employer three different times using three different methods (i.e. e-mail, voicemail, LinkedIn) and they haven’t responded, it’s likely that they aren’t interested in pursuing your employment at this time. This doesn’t mean that another opportunity won’t arise at a later time. For now, you should direct your energy toward more promising endeavors.
Too Many Restrictions: Many job seekers want a job, but they have a laundry list of things they won’t do, don’t want, and must have. The most common restrictions that candidates place on their careers include not willing to travel or relocate, demanding outrageous perks, requiring a short commute and expecting a certain schedule. Many people desperately want a job, but are certain to make employers aware of their restrictions. If you really want to land a job, it’s important that you’re flexible and willing to bend some of your rules in order to get your foot in the door. This might mean that you have to work weekends or you have to be away from your family 50% of the time. Many professionals find that when they compromise, it ends up working in their favor in the long run.
No Focus or Direction: The worst kinds of job seekers are those who “just want a job.” Because many professionals have been out of work for quite some time, their approach has been to apply for every kind of job imaginable and hope that just one person calls them back. As a result, many job seekers are using a general resume template that they feel applies to any kind of job. This strategy couldn’t be any more detrimental. Regardless of how long you’ve been out of work, employers want to hire someone who is focused and has specific career goals. If your resume is all over the place with little to no direction, hiring managers won’t be able to determine if and how you are a match for what they’re seeking. Yes, you can have a resume that speaks to various skill sets or experiences. However, it is never okay to completely lose sight of what you have to offer as a professional and where you’d like your career to be headed.
Narrow-minded Job Search Strategy: Many job seekers spend all their time solely using online search engines such as CareerBuilder and Monster, and never take a different approach to finding a job. Online search engines occasionally result in a response, but more often, the resumes get lost somewhere in cyberspace. After several months of submitting hundreds of resumes and getting little-to-no response, it becomes frustrating and discouraging. This one-track method is a poor strategy for finding a job but a surefire way to become depressed. Consider diversifying your search methods by incorporating networking, social media, relationship-building, and word-of-mouth. Also, try applying for jobs on industry specific sites or directly on the companies’ website. Utilizing various methods will significantly increase your chances of landing a gig.
No “Thank You”: It can’t be stressed enough how important it is for candidates to send a formal thank you after meeting with or speaking to a potential employer. The “thank you” letter is often what seals the deal for many job seekers. When an employer takes the time to meet with you, whether the meeting went well or not, you should always send a thank you. Be sure that the letter is brief, yet detailed. Don’t use a generic template that just thanks them for the opportunity. Instead, include specifics from your meeting that shows you were attentive and sincerely interested in the position. Always close by welcoming the opportunity to meet with them again. If after the interview you realize that you are no longer interested in the position, this can be addressed in the letter as well. However, a thank you letter should always be sent, whether you desire to continue pursuing the position or not.
Aisha Taylor (@realTAYLORmade) is co-owner and chief consultant at TAYLORmade Professional Career Consulting, a Web-based, full-service career consulting company committed to “equipping, preparing, and empowering today’s professional” globally. Check out her weekly insights on job-seeking and interviewing success every Friday on BlackEnterprise.com.