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Avoid These Job Search Sabotaging Behaviors

By Alyson Garrido

When you’re looking for a job, many things are out of your control. It’s extra important to tune in to what you can influence. Keep an eye out for these job search sabotaging behaviors, they’re very common but also very easy to fix.  

You’re too vague.

Your friends and contacts may know you’re looking for a job, but do they know what kind of role would suit your skills and interests? Would your contacts know it if they heard about your dream job? It’s time to share more about your search!

Mention your industry, job title or desired commute. It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out story – just a few simple sentences will do. Consider this example: Since I recently moved, I’ve been looking for a job with an easier commute. I’d like to continue working in Human Resources at a non-profit and I’m focusing my search on companies downtown.

Alyson Garrido, Courtesy of Alyson Garrido

You’re negative.

When looking for a job it’s natural to focus on what you don’t want or why you’re leaving your current role. You’ll find far more success, however, in sharing what you do want and what you’re looking forward to when you land a new job. These simple switches will help you stay positive during your search and involve others in your excitement, rather than your despair.

This is easier than it sounds. If you’re focused on the negative and having trouble identifying what you do want, start with the polar opposite. Is your boss a micromanager? You’re looking for a role with more autonomy. Hate the commute? You’d like to work closer to home. Feeling like a number at a giant organization? You’re best suited for a role in a small organization.   

You’re spending all of your time online.

While online applications are a necessary part of job search, your time is much better spent networking and nurturing relationships. In order to cut down on your time online, stop visiting job boards and set up daily email alerts instead. This will ensure you see roles promptly after they are posted and only have to look at the appropriate positions. It’s time-wasting and soul-crushing to tell yourself that your ideal job is on page 19 of your Indeed results. Trust me, it isn’t.

You’re sending generic responses.

How do you feel when you receive an email that isn’t addressed to you and doesn’t speak to your needs (spam) or a flyer in the mail that does the same (junk mail)? Don’t do this to hiring managers. ‘Spray and pray’ is not an effective job search strategy, so start customizing.

Tune in to the jargon and main themes in a job posting and alter your documents to speak to the company’s needs.  Remember, your resume and cover letter are not for you; they are for a hiring manager. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes to create a compelling message that makes your new boss or team want to reach out.

You’re assuming a step back.

Often when changing industries, job seekers assume they need to start at the bottom. Instead, assume you’ll make a lateral move, or better, and start researching. Learn about what transferable skills you can offer, pay scales and industry norms. Set out to go for your next job and make the case of why you’re a great fit, regardless of your years of experience in that exact industry or role.

You’re lacking results.

It’s time to read through your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter and other supporting documents for your job search. As you read through the bullets and tasks, ask yourself why the story would matter to a hiring manager. This is where you’ll discover the results, or opportunities to fold in more metrics. Consider how much more impactful it is to say: “Increased customer satisfaction by 80% through creation of new customer service scripts” instead of “Created new customer service scripts.”

If you’re feeling stuck in your search, a few small tweaks to these bad habits can make all the difference.

Alyson Garrido is passionate about helping women advance their careers and find jobs they will enjoy. As a career coach, she partners with her clients to identify their strengths and create a path toward a more fulfilling career. Alyson also provides support for interview preparation, salary negotiations and performance reviews, ensuring her clients present themselves and their goals in the best possible light. Learn more at www.alysongarrido.com.

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