What Not To Do In Your Job Search

Submitted by:   Mike Doody, retired executive search consultant and CCC Volunteer Career Coach and Board Member

In the almost 30 years I have spent working with those looking for that next career opportunity – whether they were still employed or in-between positions – I have witnessed many people who are truly focused on their job search. I have also experienced some whom – for whatever reasons – who seem not to know what to do and what not to do. Here are some of the things NOT to do.

- Spend your time, effort and energy on activities not aimed at helping you find that next position. Usually, it is the unusual candidate who is successful in her/his job search who treats the search casually. Treat it like your job – devote the time, effort, preparation, energy and focus just as you would to that new job.

- Go about the search process unprepared, without focus. The search, like any project you have experienced, needs a plan. So plan the work (of the search) and work the plan!

- Constantly tweak or change your resume. Some candidates I have met tweak or make major changes to their resume with each job they apply for. That results in spending more time tweaking the resume than preparing for the phone screen, or researching target companies, or the networking meeting, or the interview.

- Don't forget about your soft skills. Much of what you’ll be evaluated on in the interview, in additional to the pertinent experience you have, are such things as: attitude, communications and people skill, your flexibility and ability to work under pressure, and your motivation.

- Ignore the details! In my career as a search consultant, I reviewed at least 10,000 resumes of candidates for specific jobs. Many of those resumes, if not all of them, indicated the individual was detailed oriented, but far too many of those resumes or the cover letter that came with many of them had grammatical and typographical errors!

- Apply for positions for which you are not qualified for. Does that mean you should only apply for positions which represent merely a lateral move, or a step back in your career? NO, but if you do not possess the primary qualifications/experience called for in the job posting, your chances of success are minimized. Focus your attention and go after those positions for which you have a strong argument that you are highly qualified for and that you meet or exceed what is called for.

- Relax, sit back and wait for others to come to you. It is a time to spend on the job search, including time to focus on enhancing your skills and knowledge related to your career. Constantly look for ways to improve and enhance that which you have to offer to that next employer. 

Your potential for success in your job search is directly related to maintaining a positive attitude and focus on what you can and should do. Remember, the CCC is here to work with you and support you in your job search.

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