When your job search never seems to turn up any solid leads, it doesn't mean there aren't any good jobs available. From your resume to your interview decorum, every choice you make can help or hinder your chances of landing a great position. Successful job hunting is all about using smart strategies to promote your skills and get in contact with hiring managers. Avoid these five critical mistakes to keep your job search on track.
1. Cookie-Cutter Resumes
A job search is a competition. How can you distinguish yourself as the best candidate if your first impression is a stock resume? Resume writing is a headache-inducing experience for many people, so you might think a template is the smartest way to create a professional presentation. As long as your resume gets the point across, what's the harm?
Ditch the template, and organize your resume to show the most compelling information first. It doesn't make sense to lead with your education or objective if you have years of relevant professional experience. Resumes should paint a picture of your unique skills, personality and career progression to hook hiring managers within seconds.
2. Dull Cover Letters
If you think it's clever to keep reusing the same cover letter, think again. Hiring managers can tell you're using a standard cover letter without tailoring it to the company and position. Don't waste this space rehashing everything in your resume or stringing together empty buzzwords. Think of your cover letter as an elevator pitch and use it to make a quick introduction that shows your potential value to employers.
3. Poor Preparation for Phone Screenings
Phone interviews are becoming more common as employers look for ways to streamline the hiring process. Don't expect to get callbacks if you come across as casual, aloof or ignorant in phone screenings.
Since you never know when recruiters might call, it's crucial to be ready at all times. Prepare talking points, so you can easily answer common questions and share interesting stories about your past accomplishments. Phone interviews are a chance to show competence and personality early on. Smile during phone calls to get in a confident, friendly mood, and use these conversations to make a connection with the interviewer.
4. LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn lets you provide strong examples of your qualifications. Hiring managers have the tough job of wading through false and inflated claims to find genuine candidates. With LinkedIn, you can showcase skill endorsements from colleagues, provide links to portfolio samples and offer proof of your time with past employers. Recruiters frequently use these sites to conduct keyword searches for candidates. If your LinkedIn profile is bland or empty, you're missing the opportunity to attract inbound leads and ultimately speed up your job search.
5. Fear of Networking
Networking is often the most efficient way to succeed in a job search. Instead of shying away from networking altogether, find a method that fits your personality. If you're uncomfortable introducing yourself to people at big events, use a one-on-one method, such as LinkedIn messaging. When possible, ask friends, families or colleagues to introduce you to contacts from other companies.
Try different strategies to make your job search more productive. Keeping track of your efforts can help you achieve better and better results. What job search mistakes have you overcome?
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