You’ve been looking for a job for several months without much success. You started out feeling positive about getting a job and as time passes without any offers coming in, your confidence is slowly eroding. Now you’re worried about whether you’ll ever get another job. Every little thing is starting to feel really hard and you’re just fed up.
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. It’s time to regroup, rethink and reassess your strategy. Let’s take an objective look at what you might be doing wrong. There are seven deadly mistakes you must not make.

MISTAKE No. 1 – You are not ready

Perhaps you’re looking for a new role due to a redundancy, or perhaps you quit because you couldn’t stand it anymore or perhaps you were let go for a multitude of reasons. You’re still hurting from being in a difficult situation. A big mistake is to market yourself when you are still feeling emotional and your confidence is at low ebb. It’s best to market yourself after you have acknowledged the change, acknowledged that there are some things you cannot change and identified the things you can. The key is to remember you are still the same competent professional you’ve always been and you have a mountain of value to offer the right employer in the right environment. If you don't believe in yourself, who will? Employers are looking for professionals who believe in their abilities and know that they can hit the ground running without any emotional baggage. Take time to rebuild your self-confidence and get into the right frame of mind for the job search.

MISTAKE No. 2 – You don’t know what you want and what’s important to you

You haven’t assessed what drives you in your career or what your specific skills, knowledge and key motivators are. You may be applying for roles that are not suited to you.   To make successful applications you must know what makes you tick and the reasons why a role appeals to you. As you go through to the interview process, employers will want to know how close a ‘fit’ you are to their needs, their corporate culture and team environment. You need to prepare well so that you can eloquently communicate your value, key drivers and be authentic in your responses.

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MISTAKE No. 3 – Your resume and communication strategies are haphazard

You’re sending out the same generic resume and cover letter for every application. You’re sending out dozens of applications online and not getting much positive response. Your resume and cover letter often are the first point of contact with the screener. If it is generic and the reader has to search too hard for what they are looking for, or they can’t find what they require in your resume, it will probably end up in the ‘no’ bin. Take time to tailor your resume and cover letter effectively for each and every role. When people ask you how they can help you, you communicate ineffectively because you haven’t thought about how you are going to position yourself. Create a strong positioning statement and know what you will say when you are asked, ‘So why are you looking for a job?’

MISTAKE No. 4 – You don’t look the part in person or online

You haven’t thought enough about the image you are projecting to others. Before they even meet you they may be able to view your LinkedIn profile and other social media sites and they will form an opinion of you before that first handshake. Have you positioned yourself honestly and professionally? You haven’t done your research to find out what will be appropriate attire for the interview and on the job. As first impressions are so important and you only get a few seconds to make a first impression, think about what others see when you walk into a room.

MISTAKE No. 5 – You don’t know how to use all the job search methods effectively

You have been focusing mainly on advertised roles and missing out on expanding your network to uncover the hidden jobs. You don’t know how to network effectively, what to say and what to ask for. You are getting frustrated with recruitment consultants, as you don’t know what they are really looking for. You are on LinkedIn but you’re not using it to your advantage.

MISTAKE No. 6 – You are not able to convey your value in interviews

You have not been preparing for your interviews effectively. Or you’ve prepared and when you start talking you oversell and come across as overly confident. The key to successful interviews is to prepare, prepare, prepare! Employers are looking for someone to provide the functional skills they need, with the soft skills required for the role, who is willing to work the way that fits with the organisation’s requirements and gets along with and fits the culture of the team. In order to convey your suitability you need to research, practice your interview techniques, listen carefully to the questions, answer with examples of your successes and follow up with a ‘thank you’ email after the interview.

MISTAKE No. 7 – You don’t know your worth or how to settle into a new role

When the offers come in, you haven’t researched what the market rate is for the role and you don’t know how to negotiate for the best outcome for you and the company. You lack the confidence to ask for what you know could be a good outcome for both of you. If you accept a new role, when you begin you are not aware of how to settle in, develop good working relationships and get some wins on the board without looking like the ‘eager new employee’ during the crucial first 90 days in the role.
If any of these seven deadly mistakes resonate with you, it’s now time to take action to fix things. Take all measures to build your confidence, do your research, prepare well for each step in the process so you can ace that interview and transition smoothly into your new role!  
Jane Jackson is a Career Management Coach, Speaker and Author of #1 Amazon Australia best seller, Navigating Career Crossroads.


Avoid the seven deadly mistakes of job hunters:

  1. You are not ready
  2. You don't know what you want and what's important to you
  3. Your resume and communication strategies are haphazard
  4. You don't look the part in person or online
  5. You don't know how to use all the job search methods effectively
  6. You are not able to convey your value in interviews
  7. You don't know your worth or how to settle into a new role
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