5 No Good, Really Bad Job Hunt Habits


job search tacticsThis post originally appeared on The Daily Muse.

You’ve been on the job hunt for weeks.

You’re applying immediately to every job you come across that’s remotely related to your field. You’re getting your resume in the hands of anyone you meet. You’re following up with hiring managers like your life depends on it.

And still? Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Well, I’m going to tell you a little secret. It might be you that’s the problem.

I know—before you get all ready to tussle with me, let me assure you that I realize that most people are smart and motivated and have all the best intentions when it comes to landing that next big thing. The problem is that most of us don’t have much training on how to not suck at the job search. Which means—we’re bound to make some gaffes along the way.

So let’s change that. ASAP.

Rule #1: If you’re using any of these (very-common) job search tactics, you must change course immediately.

1. Spending 100% of Your Search Time Submitting Online Applications

If trolling the job boards is your primary search tactic, you’re looking at a long road ahead. Realize that, for every job you pursue, at least one or two people are going to find an “in” at that company. And they’re going to use that “in” to get a direct introduction. Would you rather be the one with the “in,” or one of the other 20, 80, or 400 contenders coming in via the automated “clump” of applicants?

Instead: Even if you apply for the job online, the moment you hit “send,” head over to LinkedIn and see if you have a first- or second-degree connection at that company. Reach out, stat. Your goal is to be the one who gets the direct introduction.

2. Applying for Jobs (Blindly) When You’re Not an Obvious On-Paper Match

Nobody’s sitting around deducing what you might be good at or why you might make sense for any particular job. Read: When you apply online, if your resume and cover letter don’t speak to the specific needs and deliverables of the job—and spell out exactly how you are going to meet them—no applicant tracking system is going to even find it.

Instead: If you’re not an obvious match (on paper) for a job, you either need to figure out a way to make yourself one (i.e., gaining new skills, taking on volunteer opportunities or freelance work to boost your resume), or find an opportunity to explain your rationale for applying directly to a hiring manager (i.e., show how your previous work experience in your current field would translate seamlessly to this new job).

  • http://www.livelovemanja.com/ LIVE.LOVE.MANJA

    Useful. The article could have been a little more resolution focus and prelude to a “How To” Stand Out in the Job Market favorably or How to Market Your Resume Like the Pro you are. Just thoughts :) Enjoyed your article thank you for sharing. Manja!

  • Evelyn

    Agree especially with #3 and #5. As a Recruiter, it would be great if I could help everyone get into a new field or a higher level role. However in reality, i’m searching for people who have the skills right now for the job I’m looking to fill. If you don’t have what I’m looking for on paper, you need to have another type of “in” to be considered.

    Stalking an HR person or hiring manager could work very well, but also can work against you. Following up will definitely get my attention (and is often appreciated) , but hounding me make me favor those who take a more tactful approach.