NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Undertaking a job search is hard work, and you don't want to sabotage that hard work with critical but common job-seeker mistakes.
"Many people make significant job search mistakes and never even know about it," says Ford R. Myers, a Haverford, Pa., career coach and business and career book author. "These blunders are easy to make ... and can end-up costing you thousands of dollars."
Here's a snapshot of seven of those critical mistakes Myers has identified:
Focusing on Internet job postings. Relying on online job ads is a big mistake, Meyers say. "In general, job postings and 'want ads' produce little value," he says. Myers suggests spending no more than 5% of your time on public job postings, devoting the bulk of your time to productive networking instead.
Shipping off unsolicited resumes. There is no bigger waste of time than sending a resume that wasn't requested. "Unsolicited resumes are considered garbage, scrap paper and wasted effort," he says. "Abandon this job search tactic completely."
Lousy networking habits. Don't sell networking short. It can mean the difference in landing a life-changing job. "Networking should be the primary focus of every job search," Myers says. "The best networkers are listeners rather than talkers, have a clear agenda and are not shy about asking for feedback and guidance. And you'll need a structured, accountable, professional approach to networking."
Not prepping well enough for job interviews. Meeting a hiring manager face-to-face is your breakthrough opportunity to get noticed and to get hired. So know what you need to accomplish going in, step-by-step. "All job interviews are comprised of five basic elements: articulating your value, conveying your knowledge of the company, asking intelligent questions, negotiating compensation, and following up," he explains. "Be sure to do extensive research on the company and the interviewer beforehand."
Relying strictly on "job openings." Myers notes that 40% of all jobs are created for the right applicant, many times opening up at the job interview. "These positions didn't exist before the right candidate appeared," he says. "The key is to shift your focus from 'openings' to 'opportunities,' which exist nearly everywhere."
Not focusing. Too many job-seekers talk themselves into the wrong job and out of the right one. That comes from leaving yourself open to too many jobs. "Always focus on finding the right job — not just any job," he says. "Before you even start your search, get 100% clear on exactly the type of position you want. Then spend all your efforts pursuing that sort of opportunity."
Being disorganized. You need a plan — and a place to plan — for a successful job search. "Have a well-thought out methodology, daily introspection and planning, space in the home dedicated to the search and a system for accountability," Myers advises.
Job hunters should also know their market value before going onsite for a job interview. Once you have an offer on the table, go ahead and ask for what you're really worth, based on experience, industry comparisons for your job category and any special or additional skills you bring to the job.
Those are the kinds of "positive" attributes you'll want on your job search. Bring those, and leave the rookie mistakes at home. It's how good job offers are really made.
— By Brian O'Connell for MainStreet