Some of the most common mistakes that job-seekers make are also some of the most easy to avoid. The following list details five of the most detrimental mistakes made by individuals on the job market today, as well as some of the ways that you can avoid these pitfalls on the road to employment.
Shifting the Blame. While a rocky economy can add a frustrating dimension to the already stressful process of seeking employment, falling into the trap of excuses represents one of the most common setbacks among those on the job market. Instead of focusing on external factors that are beyond one’s control, job-seekers should seek to recognize what sets them apart from other candidates on the market and, in turn, learn how to emphasize their unique skills when composing a resume and during job interviews. By assuming responsibility for his or her professional success, the job-seeker is empowered—and this confidence won’t be overlooked by potential employers.
Time Mismanagement. A 2010 study published in the Academy of Management Journal reveals that one of the most detrimental mistakes made by job-seekers is mismanaging the amount of time dedicated to the job hunt. According to the researchers, over 40 percent of the study’s participants dedicated fewer than three hours daily to seeking employment, while another 40 percent dedicated so much time to their job searches that they neglected to engage in healthy activities such as exercise and socialization. Moreover, participants who felt that they had been particularly productive in their searches were inclined to “reward” themselves with extended breaks rather than return to the task at hand in a timely manner. Experts thus stress that those on the job market should seek to strike a careful balance between under-productivity and excess.
Failure to Diversify. Another widely cited mistake on the part of job-seekers is failure to diversify. While the proliferation of technology has made searching, applying, and even interviewing for jobs from the confines of one’s home increasingly easier, focusing one’s efforts solely on online job postings severely limits one’s access to employment opportunities. This is not to say that one should not keep a close eye on online job postings—and especially those published on websites and in trade publications targeting individuals working within specific industries. It is to say, however, that more traditional means of seeking employment, such as phone-based and in-person inquiries and tapping into professional networks, can maximize one’s potential for employment.
Poor Preparation. From cover letters to resumes, interviews to salary negotiations, each step in the journey from jobless to gainfully employed requires meticulous attention to detail. Far too often job-seekers fail to impress not on the basis of lack of education or skill, but rather owing to one of a slew of easily avoidable transgressions. According to one study, some of the top offenders in this vein include overly lengthy cover letters, resumes containing spelling and grammatical errors, failure to dress appropriately and adequately prepare for job interviews, and criticizing former employers. In short, many of the most common mistakes made by job-seekers boil down to lack of attention to detail, and can be circumvented by dedicating more time to preparation.
The Do-It-Yourself Approach. While DIY culture represents a fantastic way to explore new hobbies, far too many job-hunters make the mistake of applying this logic to the search for employment. In today’s increasingly saturated, highly competitive job market, skills such as tailoring a resume to a particular job opening, pulling off a spectacular interview, and negotiating salary and benefits are vital. For individuals entering the job market for the first time and those seeking a new career path alike, the assistance of a staffing firm or career coach when dealing with these and other matters pertaining to the vast employment world can drastically enhance one’s chances of standing out from the crowd.
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a full-service Kansas City employment agency that provides contract-to-hire, direct hire and temporary placement services.