Career Treking is going on its fifth year coaching college students and young professionals. We are often asked what mistakes young professionals make on the job search. Here are some very common mistakes we see people of all ages make. Make sure you're not one of them.
- Lack of focus. A specific career goal is the single most important component to any job search. Many people spend more time researching the purchase of a laptop than they do career options. It's critical to be aware of what you do well, what you like to do and how this translates into a specific job. Once you know what you want and can articulate it, you will know what kind of help to ask for.
- Looking for a job without a plan. What will you do today to land that job? Will you call three people? Will you attend a job fair? Research has shown that people who have written (and frequently updated) job search plans have a higher degree of success landing a job. Every day, you should wake up knowing exactly how you will spend your job search time. Plan to spend 20 hours each week on the job hunt. If you are working, that number can drop to 10 hours each week.
- Writing your resume first. Without a clear goals, it's very difficult to write a resume that highlights your experiences and demonstrates why you are the best person for the job. Once you have a job goal, we recommend that you complete a "mind dump". This is a brainstormed list of all of your experiences: work experience, awards, internships, special projects. Take a yellow highlighter to those experiences which support your goal. That information is what should be on your resume.
- Not following up. This stalls any job search. Not following up on an interview or job contact can cause you to miss out on opportunities. Even if you get rejected, it's important to follow up. I recently worked with a client who received a rejection by email. At my suggestion, he called the recruiter back. As it turned out, he received the email erroneously: they very much wanted to hire him.
- Lack of interview preparation. Candidates should prepare for every interview as if it were a final exam. They should know the company, the position as well as how they can add specific value from day one. Questions for the interviewer should be prepared ahead of time to demonstrate interest and enthusiasm. I