The world and beyond – Surviving in the economic jungle

Advice, tips and tricks on how to engage with the UK jobs market and commercial environment, from a female executive's perspective

Guide to Job Hunting – Are these mistakes costing you opportunities?

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Are you still waiting by the phone to hear back from all the applications you have sent out?

Have you thought that you might be sabotaging your own job search?  Take a deep breath and ask yourself if you are guilty of any of the following  job search faux pas:

1. A less than salubrious Web Presence or Word of Mouth:

Get Facebook and LinkedIn cleaned up.  Treat Google and your name like it’s a second resume. People will check and if it’s dodgy, you may be losing out on job opportunities.

Also remember that people know other people. Remember that offer you accepted over 5 years ago, then turned them down because it was a ruse to increase your salary? Or the dodgy deal you did in your sales job that got found out? Unfortunately, negative word of mouth is the enemy of most job applicants in sector specific markets. Keep your nose clean at all times – You will be remembered for your worst mistakes, rarely for your best achievements. That is life – Your personal brand and integrity should be your key objective when you are in work, because when you are out of work it is too late.

2. Bad Grammar:

It doesn’t matter if you’re an MD or an entry level candidate, you’ll be judged by your writing competency. It’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but glaring typos are a bad sign to see on your resume, cover letter, or Thank-you letter. Run the spell checker with care! Attention to detail is a key requirement for most employers – If you are not proud enough to present yourself without errors in your CV, what will you do when you have to represent them if they employ you?

3. “How much does it pay?”

Compensation is a tricky subject. If you bring it up too soon, it’ll look like your priorities are misaligned. You’re saying you don’t care about the company, the job itself. Money is immodest, don’t start a conversation with it. Leave it right to the end. If the person recruiting thinks you are suitable, they will ask you the question.

4. Skipping HR or the recruitment agency and sending your CV straight to the decision maker

This “advice” pops up now and again from those who think there’s a fast-track to the hiring process. You’ve been fed a lie. The MD / Sales Director /  guy at the top is too busy for your gimmicks. Follow the prescribed process or else risk annoying the facilitators who are actually there to help you through the process. Do it once with an agency, and they might not want to work with you again because they won’t trust you.

5. Using the same CV for every application

One size does not fit all in job hunting! You should have at least 3 or 4 resumes saved on your computer for different jobs. Never lie about your skills, you’ll be found out – but you might want to highlight different aspects of your career (aside from your transferable skills across industries) and SHOW don’t TELL how you accomplished various goals.

6. Being reactive

“I went to the interview. I must be all done”  Time to sit back and wait by the phone, right? Wrong!

Call to give feedback, keep following up. Make it clear you are keen on this specific opportunity but keep applying for positions and going on interviews. Nothing is a done deal until you hear, “you’re hired.” And there are no guarantees, especially now in a risk averse market. Job seeking is a full time job – one that you probably don’t want for long! Work smarter, not longer and you’ll have that handshake in no time.

7. Don’t be impatient!

Following on from no 6 – You can also become the candidate from hell if you keep chasing, even after you have been given feedback and time scales. Don’t send emails saying “Are you on holiday”.  You are not the only person looking for a job. Be courteous, respectful, understanding – Build a relationship with the recruiter rather than alienate them. Don’t shoot the messenger if you get bad feedback. Take it on the chin, learn from it and get back in the saddle. The job offer will come if you keep working at it.

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Written by Cathy Richardson

October 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

Posted in Recruitment

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