I read an article recently from Hunt Scanlon entitled “Common Pitfalls That Will Hinder Any Career Search”. I see this stuff all the time and certainly identified with their research, so I wanted to share my Top 5 pitfalls that are killing your job search.
Top 5 Pitfalls That Are Killing Your Job Search
1. Many job seekers don’t provide a professionally written resume that tells their story and they don’t CUSTOMIZE it for each employer.
There are resources out there who can help you get this done. A quick Google search will help you find a professional resume writer. I use Sue Sarkesian with yourexecbrand.com. She does a fantastic job of helping you clearly define exactly what you do and what you’ve accomplished. Trust me, it makes a big difference to have a well-written resume that’s customized to the specific position you’re applying for.
2. It’s a two-way street… ask questions!
It’s amazing how many times I ask a potential candidate if they have any questions about the company or the opportunity they are interviewing for and they say, “No, not really”. WHAT? You’re considering changing jobs and you have NO questions? Please, do everyone a favor and prepare SEVERAL questions in advance. When you ask questions, it tells me and the interviewer that you did some advance preparation for the meeting, did your research and you’re genuinely interested in the position. If you don’t ask questions, it tells me you don’t really care and we’ll move on without you.
3. Hard skills are typically fairly easy to articulate, but it’s the soft skills that hiring managers want to know about and very few candidates get this right in the cover letter (if they even write one).
Some 45% of job seekers don’t write a cover letter. Of those that do, a large percentage of them just regurgitate what’s on their resume. Instead, tell your potential new employer who you are, what motivates you, and what you represent if they decide to hire you. We can read your resume. Use the cover letter to tell us more about the soft skills you bring to the table.
4. Did your mom and dad teach you to say Please and Thank You?
Well, surprisingly, 57% of job seekers don’t take the time to send a thank you note after an interview. WHAT? I see it all the time…and these are typically senior-level folks I’m dealing with! Hiring managers call me regularly and tell me they have received thank you notes from a few candidates…but not all. Do you think it helps your chances if you don’t show the courtesy/initiative and take time to send a thank you note? This is such common sense but is so inexplicably commonly overlooked. And when you do send a thank you note, be sure to check your spelling and grammar. It can be just as damaging as not sending a follow-up note if the note you do send is full of grammatical errors and poor spelling.
5. If the hiring company is using a professional recruiter (like me), all of these rules apply to the recruiter you’re working with too!
Recruiters play the role of the filter and if you don’t get through us, you don’t get through at all. Treat recruiters the same as you would the hiring entity. It might just set you apart from the dozens of other applicants who don’t treat recruiters with respect during the process.
These pitfalls are unfortunately all too common among job seekers. Common sense and treating others the way you want to be treated is the best remedy. If you have other pitfalls to add, please share them. We’d love to hear from you!