I'm entering a difficult, overcrowded job market, and I'd like
to avoid the worst mistakes job hunters make. What are they?
Here are 12 mistakes that really stall a job search:
- Having a bad attitude. Interviewing while still angry
at a former employer. Being, acting, or thinking negative. The
problem with negative people is that they seldom realize how terribly
negative they really are. They may have good business skills,
but they stay unemployed a long time and can't figure out why.
Motivate yourself with FranklinCovey!
- Thinking "something will come along." Waiting for something to happen.
As a rule, good things don't "just happen." Successful people make them happen.
Effort usually equals results (E=R). As a rule, the harder you work at a job search,
the sooner it ends.
- Thinking someone else will find me a job: a recruiter,
a counselor, my neighbor, my employer, my spouse, my pastoranyone.
Even with counseling and support, this is really a "do-it-yourself"
- Thinking they're more marketable than they are. Declining
job offers that pay less than the last job or are somehow inferior. It's often best
to accept a weaker offer and leverage up from there. I call it "kicking a career
- Taking rejection personally. The best way to cope with
rejection is to have so many balls in the air that one loss doesn't
matter much. Having your entire future riding on one potential
offer is clearly a red flag.
- Acting desperate. You may feel desperate. Just don't let
them see you sweat.
- Shooting too high (or too low). It's essential to know
where you're marketable. You learn that through networking, and
by asking others where they think you're competitive. Ask college
professors, experts in the field, and especially those in jobs
similar to the ones you want.
- Looking for "a job" rather than for a good fit
where you'll be happy. Sometimes it's necessary to take the first
job that comes along. Most of the time, it's not. Whenever possible,
hold out for the right fit.
- Launching a job campaign before you know who you are and
what you want to do. (The cart before the horse.) This is like
building a custom home without a blueprint.
Usually, the result is a short-term fix. Then you're back in the job market with fewer resources and more anxiety.
It's better to begin with structured testing and assessment like the
Birkman Method®, and with time-tested paper-and-pencil exercises.
- Asking for "a job" instead of asking for advice,
ideas, and referrals. Business contacts-especially strangersare generally
willing to point you in the right direction, but
they dislike being asked directly for a job, because they're uncomfortable
turning you down.
- Not preparing for interviews. Your competitors will be
prepared. They will have rehearsed the answers to difficult interview
questionssometimes even on videotape. Why shouldn't you? Also,
don't interview half-heartedly. Go for the job offer. You can
always turn it down later.
- Hard-selling. Coming on too strong. Pushing people to
give you names. Sometimes called NFL networking. Hard selling
creates bad feelings about you and is actually counter-productive.
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