Searching for a job is a tedious process, and if you don’t achieve results quick, it gets disheartening pretty fast. “What am I doing wrong?” is a question that haunts us every time we face the inevitable rejection. A blunder could be as hilarious as turning up for an interview in your pyjamas and as seemingly insignificant as a tiny typo in your cover letter. And believe it or not, it is these small things which are usually your biggest obstacles while hunting for a new job. Whether you’re selected or rejected just may depend on whether you make sure to avoid these common job search errors.
#1 – Sending out too many applications in a day
There are instances where quantity trumps quality, but this is not one of them. If you send out, say, 15 applications in a day, you don’t have time to make each one good, which is decidedly a bad thing. Rather than 15 generic applications in which you recycle the same resume and cover letter, send out five good ones, tweaking your resume so that it seems perfect for that specific job.
#2 – Waiting for the “Perfect” job
This is something entry-level applicants often do. The job market s competitive and getting your “Dream Job” with no work experience is just that: a dream. Learn to recognize an opportunity when you see it, and start working towards your dream job, rather than sitting around waiting for it.
#3 – Not having a plan
Job searching is many things, but there’s one thing it absolutely cannot be, and that is random. You must have a clear plan while starting your job hunt, and your goals and job preferences must be fixed. You must also decide what is important to you, be it filling your pockets or having the specific job you wish for, and direct your job hunt accordingly.
#4 – Writing a novel for a cover letter
It’s not easy to write an entire letter about yourself without sounding arrogant. However, that doesn’t mean that you must ramble on for pages and pages in your letter, making it too long for your potential employers to even bother reading. Remember, hundreds of cover letters are competing for the recruiters’ attention.
#5 – Lacking salary flexibility
Often, when you need a job, you don’t get exactly what you expect or hope for. Maybe the job has a lower salary than your previous one. Maybe it won’t have you working for the exact project you wanted. But as they say, beggars can’t be choosers. If you need a job and demand a higher salary than the one offered, or turn up your nose at a job because it’s not the project you wanted, well, don’t be surprised if you find yourself unemployed for longer than you expected.
#6 – Giving the wrong references
The “references” section is often neglected and definitely given much less importance than it deserves. You must always ensure that your references are sound, and more importantly, they know you well and like you. A family member wouldn’t do, however qualified they may be, because they would be biased. A past coworker, a good boss or your favourite professor would usually be your best bet. However, before giving someone’s name, you must prepare them. When your hiring manager calls them, they shouldn’t end up saying “Who?”.
#7 – Having an unprofessional email address
This may seem silly or petty, or both, but a lot of employers reject applicants by looking at their email id alone. Using your current work email address is extremely unprofessional and gives the message that you’ll use the company’s resources for your personal use. Worse still is a childhood email address like firstname.lastname@example.org, or something. The best way to be professional is to use your name and add a few tweaks to make it available as an email id.
#8 – Lacking tact
When you follow up with the hiring manager for any job you’ve applied for, you must be extremely tactful. Getting your message across without seeming pushy is a talent everyone looking to be employed must learn. If you call or email them too many times, your chances of selection become bleak. However, if you place just one tactful call, you may have just increased your chances of getting hired.
#9 – Neglecting your network
Everyone knows people in useful places, whether they are casual acquaintances, random classmates or close friends. What you should know is how to work them to your advantage. Approach people and let them know you’re in the market for a job. Asking for favours doesn’t make you a lesser person, and when you’re in need, contacts are the best thing that can happen to you.
#10 – Typos
Typos and grammatical errors are a sure-fire way to be rejected without a second thought. Avoiding such simple mistakes is something you can never be too careful about. If proofreading it doesn’t bring out any mistakes, have a friend read it over for you, or read it upside down. This will definitely bring out whatever you may have missed.
If you’re job-hunting and don’t know where to start, head on over to iimjobs.com for some great opportunities!