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Want a Good Career? Avoid These 6 Job Search Mistakes

Today’s job market is now online, open 24/7 and covering the global community. While this makes some of the processes easy and convenient for job seekers, it also makes the search highly competitive. If you’re one of those having a hard time, it pays to check first if there is something wrong with your job search practices.

To have a higher chance of successfully landing that highly coveted position, steer clear of the following six job search mistakes.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

1. Not making use of referrals

Take note that many companies now pay employees a referral fee every time they find a candidate who fits the role. More and more individuals want to take part because of this incentive. So, remember to ask your relatives, friends, and contacts to refer you to any open job positions for which you are qualified.

Here are ways you can ask a referral for a job:

  • Create it yourself – You can take the matter into your own hands by asking others for help. Think about the possible connections you have with the company you plan to apply to. Then, ask yourself if you know anybody who can possibly do an employee referral on your behalf.
  • Search for connections on LinkedIn – Go to the LinkedIn page of the position you want to apply to. Check if you have any first or second-degree connections by clicking “see all employees.”

If you’re lucky enough to find a first-degree connection, reach out directly to them. Express your interest in working for the company and ask if he or she can refer you. Since many companies offer referral fees, your connections will be more than eager to refer you.

Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

2. Focusing your job search on big companies

The world is too big to only go after those huge companies. It’s not bad to actually want to build a career in a sought-after company. But even though smaller businesses may not be as famous as top-tier companies, they may have the opportunities you’re looking for.

Expand your opportunities and don’t focus entirely on big-name firms.

3. Doubting yourself

Just as overconfidence can do you no good, a lack of confidence is not a good character trait to have either, whether you’re on a job hunt or not. Stop spending too much emotional energy on reassuring yourself just because you think you aren’t good enough.

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference” Robert Frost

Overcome your fear and remind yourself that not getting a callback doesn’t entirely have anything to do with you. At the same time, it’s also important to understand if you need a hand in your job search. You never know, there may be other opportunities out there which may be a better fit for you.

4. Not playing up your strengths

Target jobs which enable you to demonstrate the things you’re good at. Look into yourself and see what your strengths are that’ll make you stand out from other candidates. Don’t be afraid to emphasize these traits when applying for a job.

Follow these tips to help you show your strengths.

  • Identify what you’re good at – What unique skills do you have that help you in your career and life in general?
  • Use your strengths to fulfill a unique need – Consider applying for jobs where you’ll be a wild card candidate. Look for problems in the company that need a solution and ask yourself if you can fix them.
  • Acknowledge your weaknesses – The strongest individuals are those who know and understand their weaknesses. Accepting your weaknesses is as important as knowing your strengths. When you know your flaws, you can work on improving yourself.

5. Job role and resume mismatch

Your resume may look lovely but it’ll be useless if it doesn’t position you for a particular role. Modify your resume to fit the job you’re trying to apply for. It’s important that your resume complements the job you want.

Also, don’t forget to update your profile on LinkedIn. This will enable recruiters to have a good look at your strengths and experiences. Turn off activity broadcasts within your privacy settings to prevent arousing suspicions from your boss or colleagues on LinkedIn.



6. Focusing on just direct applications

Leading companies in the world today know that the wrong hire can cost their business a significant amount of time and money, not to mention the potential damage it can pose to their reputation. That’s why they make it a priority to invest in tools and solutions that will allow them to ensure they are hiring only the people who will add value to their organizations.

One of these essential solutions businesses turn to is to get the services of a reputable recruitment agency, especially when they are hiring for executive positions. Recruitment professionals conduct a highly stringent recruitment process to ensure their client companies are able to reach out to top talent in their field.

So while the recruitment team opens the company to quality job candidates, they’re also the gatekeepers to what can be your dream role. Not knowing about this now-standard or best practice is one of the biggest mistakes a job seeker today can make. Make sure you get the attention of the top recruiters and headhunters in your field by working on your online visibility, networking, joining industry groups, signifying your thought leadership and strengthening your personal brand.

Final thoughts

During your job search, just like in life, stop trying to fit into a mold. Remember that companies care more about the things you can do for them, and skills that make you stand out. It all comes down to understanding your strengths well and recognizing your weaknesses.

Be self-aware, play up your strengths and you’ll be more likely to get a callback.

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