7 mistakes that get job-seekers overlooked

Apr 13 2012 - 5:17pm

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Lance Wallace, an employee of the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation -- Division of Rehabilitation Services, often uses what is known as the "7 Little-Known Reasons You're Not Getting Hired" as he works with job seekers.

They are worth sharing.

  • You have unreasonable expectations. Everyone wants a perfect job, but if your criteria are too high or if you're being too demanding, you may well remain unemployed. No one wants to be told to compromise, but the fact is that much of life involves just that, at least temporarily. Analyze your wants and needs: Which are must-haves? Which are negotiable? Which can be put on hold?
  • You are relying too much on one job search technique. Maybe you are only applying online, or only networking, or only using employment agencies, or only approaching companies that you know are hiring. Don't limit yourself to just one job-search method. Try them all. Cast a wide net. Continue to build your connections. Get creative.
  • You use the word "I" too much in your cover letter. The most effective way to endear yourself to potential employers is to put the focus more on them than on you. Show you've done your homework and understand what your target companies are seeking. Tell them how you can fill those needs.
  • You are not demonstrating long-term potential. We get caught up in the moment. We need a job, but employers -- at least the good ones -- tend to think long term. They want to know not only how you will contribute today but in the future as well. That "Where do you want to be in five years?" question is not just a drill; they really want to know.
  • You are unknowingly repeating mistakes. After interviews, are you taking the time to review and analyze them? Many times, the reason you don't get a job is beyond your control, and, in fact, has nothing to do with you, but not always. Trying to understand why the answer was "no" may help you to fine tune and fix your approach.
  • You have not rehearsed. You may hesitate to rehearse answers to the most common questions. You don't want to sound canned. You want to be yourself, but consider the benefits of creating great answers to those questions you hear the most -- short, vivid, three-sentence answers brimming with examples and facts, practicing them until you can speak with conviction and confidence.
  • You put your job search on hold while waiting to hear back. We all fall into this trap at one time or another. You've had a super couple of interviews with your dream employer. You just know you're going to get "the call" any day now. You think, "I'm going to hold off until I hear back. After all, I deserve a little break." Well, no doubt you do deserve that break, but don't take it. Keep on networking, applying, interviewing, and researching until you have a firm job offer in hand.

Looking for work is an enormous project. In many ways, it's more difficult and takes more energy than even the most demanding job. So, in the midst of it all, find a way to nurture you. Keep on fine-tuning and strengthening your approach.

And hang in there.

Ron Campbell has worked extensively in the job preparation and job search industry. He can be reached at 801-386-1111 or campbellrv@gmail.com.

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