Even the savviest job hunter can fall prey to common mistakes in the process of finding their next great position. By simply being aware of possible blunders, you can more easily avoid them as you hone in on your next career move.
Here are four simple pitfalls and some tips for steering clear of them:
A Resume That is Not Tailored to the Job
Keep your resume and cover letter crisp, concise and focused on why you are the right fit for the job.
- Recruiters take as little as six to 10 seconds on their initial review of a resume. Applicant tracking systems spit out those that do not immediately include keywords. Avoid cluttering your documents with irrelevant information which may make it harder for an employer to spot the most qualifying elements of your background.
- An outdated resume will make you look obsolete – or clueless. Update your resume and cover letter for every position for which you apply.
Saying the Wrong Things at an Interview
Your job interview should be all about what you have to offer the employer. Focus on making the right match and helping the company to meet its goals and solve its problems.
- Don’t say too much. Keep the emphasis on your skills and fit for the position. Interviewers are not interested in your personal life, your vacation plans or why you really need the job – though they may ask a question or two about things such as hobbies and interests, as they get to know you. The bottom line: They want to know why you’re the most qualified candidate.
- If you don’t know an answer, stay calm. Buy some time by rephrasing the question. If you are totally stumped, be honest – and include the answer as part of your follow-up communication.
Not Having References
Have a list of three or four professional references ready in case a prospective employer requests it. You don’t want to have to scramble at the last minute to find people who will speak to your credentials.
- A positive endorsement can clinch a job offer. Plan ahead and get your references lined up. It’s important not to use someone as a reference without first asking their permission. When you apply for a specific job, review the details with them so they can tailor their comments about you to the role.
- Create a list of references separate from your resume. Keep this list up to date and be sure you have everyone’s full name, title, address and other contact information.
Not Following Up with a Prospective Employer
Following up after an interview helps keep you top of mind with an employer – and it gives you another chance to make a good impression. Research has shown that the right follow-up can be the deciding factor in a hiring move.
- Thank each one of your interviewers personally. Send a note within 24 hours of your interview. Highlight again your relevant qualifications for the job, and slip in any additional important details that may not have come up during your meeting.