2 Easily Avoidable Job Search Blunders

November 2019
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There is plenty of strategic advice available for job seekers out there, in person and online, that remains evergreen. Notwithstanding, I witness eager candidates at all levels of their professional careers making the same kinds of mistakes in their job applications and during the interview process — repeatedly. 

The job search blunders that I will review here are two that I come across far too often and are both easily avoidable. With a little bit of extra effort and foresight, you can polish your presentation and better focus your efforts going forward, possibly landing that dream job sooner rather than later. 

Don’t apply to multiple jobs at the same firm. 

Casting a wide net when applying for jobs is smart but be tactful. Applying for many jobs increases your chances of initial interviews (a phone call, at least). However, if you apply for multiple openings at the same company, you risk appearing like you’re not paying attention, and you may even come across as desperate. 

When I notice that a candidate has applied to every open listed position, from the most entry level to the most senior, that doesn’t sit well with me. I question whether or not the person even took the time to read the job descriptions. It’s a waste of time to apply to jobs that aren’t a fit for you and, even if your goal is innocently enough “to be seen,” it’s not a good strategy. 

A much better idea, if you’re interested in more than one listed opportunity (and you think that you might qualify for the positions based on the provided criteria), is to reference the other opportunity, briefly, in your cover letter. This will shine a much more positive light on your candidacy for open opportunities at the organization, because it shows that you are able to articulate what you’re looking for in job responsibilities and have the skills to back it up. You certainly don’t want to discount your own chances by making this easily avoidable error. 

Don’t forget to do your research.

When a company lists an open position, a member of the talent acquisition team will most likely review the incoming applicants. Recruiters are often pressed for time and, when inundated with applications, they often have to make quick and educated choices about which applicants to contact. Your cover letter is a great place to be specific about how your skills and experience might translate to the needs of the role. If your cover letter is a generic, copy and paste note used for every position you apply for, your chances of making it to the next step decrease. 

Furthermore, if you do get selected for an interview, then be sure to do more research. Who are some of the key players? Who are the agency’s clients and sectors of expertise? What about the position is interesting to you and relevant to your experience? Does the firm’s mission align with your values? 

In addition to being armed with some base-level knowledge, be prepared with some questions to ask your interviewer, too! You will come across as more thoughtful and proactive when you have smart questions at the ready, and it makes for more of an engaging, two-way conversation. 

It’s disappointing to be in the middle of an interview with someone, only to realize that they haven’t done their homework. They might not know anything about your organization, and sometimes, they don’t even know the basics of the description of the role they applied for. 

If you approach your job search with the same care that you’d give to your actual job, then you may find that you reap the rewards much faster, and develop more fruitful contacts going forward. 

photo credit: shutterstock

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