5 Costly Job Search Mistakes – and What to Do About Them
For many people, job searching is less fun than going to the dentist! The path to success (a new job) is fraught with pitfalls, and the process ranks high on the Stress-Meter. While no one can guarantee you a smooth, stress-free ride, you can evaluate possible problems and prepare an active defense. Then you come up with a Plan B in case your defense crumbles!
5 Job Search Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
These are just a few of the mistakes you can fall into that could derail or even destroy your job search.
- Fail to “expect the unexpected.”
- Blow off planning and preparation as a needless waste of time.
- Trust the wrong people or become careless about protecting your search activity.
- Leap before you look.
- Let bad feelings about your current or most recent company color your attitude.
Actions to Prevent Job Search Mistakes
There’s no foolproof plan to prevent any of the mistakes you could make. However, that doesn’t mean you should sit around moaning or just cross your fingers and hope for the best. You do have some options.
- Unexpected things happen. If you get thrown off by something (such as an interview question you didn’t prepare for), your job search could take a hit. One way to minimize your risk is to evaluate areas where you think you might be weakest or most vulnerable and then diligently prepare the best possible response for those aspects. It’s like insurance: you hope you won’t need to use it, but you need to have it.
- It ought to be a given that you do your homework throughout a job search–from looking at companies and opportunities, to preparing your marketing materials, to doing due diligence on the companies you’re going to interview with, and more. However, it’s surprising the number of people who don’t take this crucial step seriously.
- A confidential job search raises the specter of “who can I trust to talk to about this?” Even a non-confidential search can suffer if wrong decisions are made in this regard. The question has two aspects: (a) Does the person respect your confidentiality, and will he/she preserve it or do something detrimental to your job search? (b) Can the person exercise the self-restraint needed to protect the sensitive information you’ve shared?
Another aspect of this issue is your own alertness or lack thereof. Do you take the necessary steps to keep your job search and work actions distinctly separate?
- Sometimes, “haste makes waste” is all too true. A too-hasty action can cost your job search dearly. (Of course, acting too slowly can also sometimes create problems, but that’s another story.) The key is to get as much information as you can in the time available and evaluate your probable best course of action before you move forward.
- You might be surprised by what people can deduce from your speech and actions about your feelings toward a current or former employer, even if you think you’ve got a handle on your emotions. A skilled interviewer, for instance, can pick up on subtle cues that suggest you’re carrying a hidden load of anger or resentment. Before you put yourself into a spot where this could do serious damage to your job prospects, it’s essential that you work through your underlying issues and understand what you need to do to prevent them from becoming an obstacle in your job search.
So, What if You Make a Mistake Anyway?
Here’s hoping it isn’t one that’s fatal to your job search or career success. Barring that, your best bet is to get as much understanding from it as you can and then put it behind you. You don’t need extra baggage weighing you down. Instead, focus on your next step toward the new job you want and deserve.