5 Job Search Tactics to Stop Immediately

Nancy Anderson
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You know the drill: Find any job you are somewhat qualified for, apply for it, talk to the right people, and hopefully you get the coveted job interview. If you have been doing this for weeks or months on end without results, perhaps you need to change job search tactics. Work smarter, not harder, to find a job that is fulfilling and rewarding.

Mashable expounds on five job search tactics to stop immediately if you want to land the job you want. The overriding principle to remember is that this process does not entail doing things in the fastest manner possible. Find a better position in less time by eschewing these tactics.

1) Do not completely rely on submissions through online sources. Anyone can find a job posting on the Internet, fill out some information, post a resume and then get thrown into the pile of dozens of candidates. Instead, switch job search tactics and add the step of finding a viable person at the company to make an introduction. Doing so gets your name mentioned to the HR manager, which means that you have a name associated with a voice instead of some ephemeral, electronic font on the screen.

2) Combine online and offline job search skills by attending job fairs and networking events, calling companies to ask if they have positions available, asking people within your network if their company is hiring, and submitting applications and resumes in person. All of these things make you more personable, professional and likable.

3) Avoid applying for jobs that do not fit your qualifications. If your experience lies in sales, don't apply for a job as a shift manager at a factory. Chances are you will not get the interview, because your work experience does not fit the position. Change job search tactics to narrow your choices to ones you actually qualify for instead of reaching out to any firm with openings.

Get rid of the phrase, "I'm a fast learner," with respect to jobs that require experience. Your future boss expects you to know some things about the position already as opposed to having to teach you how to do things. "I'm a fast learner" implies that you lack what it takes.

4) Do not rely on a 10-second name drop to get you anywhere. Just because you approach the HR assistant about a job reference, that does not mean that person can vouch for your job skills or work ethic. Rather, find a person and build a relationship before asking about job openings. This becomes especially important when you find a company you particularly love. Discover someone on LinkedIn with similar interests or background, and start talking.

5) Under no circumstances should you torment, annoy or pester the HR department with follow-up phone calls after the interview. Alter your job search tactics and include one phone call with a supplementary email. Keep both communications short, gracious and to the point.

Landing your ideal position may be about altering your job search tactics rather than making a company fit into your mold. Instead of trying to slam a square peg into a round hole, discover the right fit for you and save yourself tons of aggravation later.


Photo courtesy of Dean Meyers at Flickr.com



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  • Jill V.
    Jill V.

    If you go in asking to see the hiring person, they are not going to let you see him. "Networking" doesn't make any sense if you don't know anybody at the company. So you don't pester the people there. One phone call, after getting

  • Linda C.
    Linda C.

    Very good read, and tips to consider. I find myself guilty of doing some of the "Do Nots" which probably explains why I have not landed a job successfully yet.

  • Duane Wenker
    Duane Wenker

    I'm having Brandy's problem in spades, but I found the article helpful.....

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Ryan - so very true. Following up is SO important. After the interview, are you sending thank you notes. Sending them by snail mail is a great way because then you can personalize it even more. Nice thank you cards can make the difference between rejection and acceptance. It's not an old-fahioned concept either. You would be surprised how many people walk out of the interview, check it off their list and move on to the next one. Yes, cultivate working relations with the company. After all, you applied for a position so you must want to work for the company. And Ryan, that job posting is the company's dream list. They know, going into it, that they are not going to get a person who is 100% qualified. Don't let that deter you. And you are absolutely right. If you say you are a quick study show them how. Best of luck to you.

  • Ryan Helling
    Ryan Helling

    Also, DO follow up with the recruiter or HR contact. A lot of people think they don't want to be annoying and they do not maintain enough communication. Remember, you gave that company your time to go to the interview, you deserve a response even if the company decides to go with a different candidate. This gives you an opportunity to learn and politely ask questions. What separated me from the person that was chosen? Is there anything I could have answered better? Are there other positions that better suit my skill set? Treat these contacts as your ally, not the gatekeeper. Because, ultimately, when you succeed, they succeed.

  • Ryan Helling
    Ryan Helling

    I think some of the author's points could use some clarification. There are a lot of jobs where you might have a lot of the skills required for the position, but it is not a 100% match. It is okay to give an example of how you can easily adapt, but give an explanation. If you just say I'm a "fast learner" & don't provide any nexus to related skills then you'll probably get rejected.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Brandy - love that you are a woman on a mission. Keep that mission totally in front of you and don't get distracted. Sorry about the potential employer. It is a sad truth in our world today that you need to have a job to get a job. But I wouldn't let that deter you. Just keep putting 100% into the job search and an even better one will come along. Now you will probably need to explain the gaps so be prepared. But taking care of a love one is certainly justification for having gaps in your employment. Just keep that final goal in your site and go for for it.

  • Brandy W.
    Brandy W.

    I've waited for a specific job position to open before I even considered other jobs in my field. I'm taking the steps to go from retail healthcare to, more specifically, healthcare compliance and third-party compliance. I've been in healthcare for 17 years. My potential employer is still teetering because I've been without a job since January. They love my enthusiasm, my positive attitude, and think I'm very qualified, but are concerned since I'm still unemployed. The aforementioned reasons are what the potential supervisor discussed with a professional reference of mine. I've not heard that someone wouldn't hire you based on your time unemployed before. Honestly, I wish that they would just ask me instead of coming to the conclusion that I've not been offered other positions. Making the decision to leave my previous job after 14 & 1/2 years was extremely difficult, but I knew that putting 100% into my job search would allow me to find what I was wanting while preparing to take 2 compliance exams to obtain the certifications that can expand my career. I'm a woman on a mission. This is the company and department I've been waiting for. I mentioned this in my interview when talking about the top 3 companies (this job being #1) that I would love to work for and why. Is there any way to prevent this from happening again? After all, keeping and maintaining a job has never been a problem. I've carried 2 jobs and went to school for 8 of my 14 & 1/2 years with my previous employer. Are there any other steps I could take for this employer to possibly recall this conversation or to inform them about other jobs I had while working with my previous employer? My resume was already more than one page without including my second jobs, therefore I left them off.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Jennifer it can get very frustrating to find a job. It is true that most companies make you apply online - even McDonald's makes you fill out an online application. The days of walking into a place, filling out an app and pulling an interview are gone. And yes, they do have sneaky tactics to get you to answer questions that would show your age, etc. As to being "overqualified" - employers are not going to waste time and resources bringing you in for a job that you will be bored at and leave before the ink dries on your application. It costs companies a lot of money to bring in one new hire which is why they are they way they are. You say that you wouldn't have applied for the position if you didn't really want it. Maybe for you that's true but for the average job seeker, they are submitting applications everywhere and anywhere just hoping that they can beat the odds and get called in for an interview - even if the job is not what they want. Yes it would be common courtesy for them to contact you and let you know what they decided and why. Maybe we will get back to those days again soon. Make sure that you use proper courtesy on your side - are you sending a thank you note to them after the interview? Not an email but a hand-written thank you note? Yes I hear the frustration and I, myself, have been there many times. All you can do is keep trying.

  • Jennifer R.
    Jennifer R.

    I agree with Diane... I have been repeatedly told that they do not accept applications in person or even by mail that I have to fill out their application online which most of the time does not give me an opportunity to fill in the correct "assets" that I have for the job itself :( Then I agree with some of the other comments companies often leave potential employees hanging they will tell you that they will call you by Friday but then they never call or email. When I call to find out what happened I get the voicemail and then still never receive a phone call. It would be nice if they would just even send a group email to applicants that they will be in contact and when or that they have already filled the position so that applicants know whether to move on and keep looking or wait a little longer for a response... It is common courtesy. they like for us to follow-up but good business practice would be to follow up with your applicants. I think that is part of what makes the job search so frustrating...... either that or being told that I am "over qualified" for the position. I am sorry that I wanted to better myself and get an education but my "over qualification" can benefit the company. If I didn't want the position I would not have applied for it in the first place :(

  • Lyticia N.
    Lyticia N.

    Great advice. I'll try to apply them to my job search and hope to land that coveted job.


    "Attend job fairs" Yea that's great if your ambitions are limited to minimum wage jobs. Who writes these articles? Obviously someone that is out of touch with reality.

  • Patricia S.
    Patricia S.

    Great advice. I have applied some of it to my searches, hoping for a better outcome. Thanks again.

  • Domingos N.
    Domingos N.

    Many thanks:

  • Georgia S.
    Georgia S.

    Good advice, I will be applying it to my search

  • Catherine D.
    Catherine D.

    Hi Nancy thank you for your advice. Unfortunately I do find myself with this very situation at the moment and am trying hard to alter my jobseeking tactics and appreciate all advice I can get.

  • Andrew J.
    Andrew J.

    I think people should take the advise.

  • Elvis Q.
    Elvis Q.

    Very good advice. Time seems to last longer while unemployed, but patience pays in the long run.

  • Chris H.
    Chris H.

    I must agree with Michael. A.,. And I'd like to add that it is frustrating that this lack of interpersonal communication (which is vital) is lost with the limitation of making an impression by completing online applications & not able to express, demonstrate, etc. the whole picture of what we have as candidates to offer.

  • Diane Fischer
    Diane Fischer

    Many companies now only allow/accept online applications, and seem to frown on direct contact with HR reps. It is getting pretty difficult to get personable when they explicitly forbid calling an actual person! I also find it very discouraging to spend the time to apply online and never get any kind of response at all. If the job is taken, or they reject your resume it would really be nice to get a small email saying what has happened. It's a whole new ballgame, and HR people seem to forget that actual people with hopes, and worries are behind all those online applications they happily delete. The companies that actually took the time to reject me with an email really were considerate, and it has only happened a few times this year while I have been applying.

  • Eugene P.
    Eugene P.

    Good ideas. I like the one about being personable. Something that I think is really lacking in this day and age.


    Good information, thank you.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Eric I know it is frustrating. When they say "We will be in touch", hold them to the fire. Ask them when they will get back to you. Will it be by email or a phone call? Then let them know that you will call them if you don't hear from them at that time. Always make sure that you do the right thing, too. After an interview, are you sending a thank you note? All I can say is try to pin them down as to when they will be making a decision and when you can follow up with a phone call. I think that by the future employees keeping them to task, companies will start changing. Before the economy tanked they were doing the right thing. Could be that they are overwhelmed now with all of the resumes but still I think it's up to us to keep them on task. Wishing you all the best.

  • Melody Cornelius
    Melody Cornelius

    Really, so the only option is to keep doing the same job. Awesome. Dont you think there might be a reason you're not doing that anymore?

  • Eric D.
    Eric D.

    The only real problem I have is with #5. I understand that if you're told no for the position, stop trying to follow up and get something. But if a recruiter/HR person tells you "we'll be in touch" and then never is... why is it our (the perspective employee) fault and us pestering - just send a simple response that you aren't pursuing us as the candidate for the job. Now, I follow the 1 call and 1 email suggestion, but it's so extremely frustrating for me to hear them say "We'll call you back" and never receive an Email or call.

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