Find a Job
Seven Job Search Traps
By Robert Half International
Reports on the uncertainty of the current economy are dominating the
headlines, and it's easy to allow those stories
to weigh on you, especially if you are in the
middle of drawn-out a job search. Instead of feeling
helpless, remember that in any economy, companies
need good people. And by fine-tuning your job-search
strategy, you may be able to land a position that
seems out of reach.
Consider these job-search traps and ways to avoid
You put all your eggs in one basket.
If you're like most job seekers, you probably
heavily rely on the Internet to help you in your
job search. While the Web can come in handy –
as a way to research potential employers, determine
which companies are hiring and locate positions
specific to your area, for example – it
should be just one of the many tools you employ.
Also consider scanning trade and business publications,
networking with professional contacts and registering
with a staffing firm to broaden your search.
You don't make finding a job a full-time job.
Sending out a handful of résumés
a week is a lot like tossing a single bottle into
the ocean and hoping someone responds to the message
you left inside. To find a job, you must cast
a wide net. It's a numbers game, and the more
inquiries you make, résumés you
submit and employment interviews you go on, the
better your chances of success. Of course, these
activities all require a significant input of
time and effort, so set aside at least a few hours
each day to focus solely on your job search.
You're less than perfect.
Believe it or not, even one typo or grammatical
goof in any of your application materials could
be keeping you from finding a new position. With
dozens or even hundreds of candidates to evaluate,
a hiring manager won't think twice about passing
on the applicant who has five years of "word
professing" experience. In fact, according
to a survey by our company, 47 percent of executives
polled said a single typo on a résumé
could eliminate a candidate from consideration
for a job opening.
Ask another person to review your application
materials before you submit them. Taking 10 extra
minutes to make sure everything is error-free
can save you from spinning your wheels by sending
out a flawed résumé.
You don't follow up.
One easy way to stand out from the crowd of applicants:
Follow up with the hiring manager after submitting
your résumé. According to a survey
by our company, 86 percent of executives said
job seekers should contact a hiring manager within
two weeks of sending a résumé and
cover letter. Yet few candidates do. Often a brief
phone call or e-mail reasserting your interest
in the position and strong qualifications is enough
to cause a potential employer to revisit your
You fix too many 'problems.'
The average job seeker who has been on the hunt
for a while usually responds to periods of little
success by taking a cold, hard look at his or
her résumé, cover letter, sources
of leads and interview techniques. That's the
wrong approach. Evaluating all aspects of your
job search and revamping each one is like taking
10 medications for a minor head cold: It's a lot
of extra effort and could cause more harm than
A better approach is to diagnose your specific
job-search ill and focus on strengthening just
that one part. Say you've gone on several interviews,
but you still haven't received any offers. The
problem likely exists solely with your interview
skills – after all, your résumé
and cover letter are drawing heavy interest from
employers. Making significant changes to your
application materials could cause other companies
to overlook you. Instead, reviewing questions
you've been asked by hiring managers thus far
and practicing your responses with a friend could
be all you need to land the next job.
You don't network.
The simple truth is that networking is the most
effective way to find a new job. A referral from
someone you know is likely to land you an interview
with a prospective employer or, at the very least,
move your résumé to the top of the
consideration pile. Even if your contacts are
unaware of any immediate openings, they may be
able to introduce you to others who do have job
The best part about networking: It's easier to
do than you think. Talk to friends, family members,
former co-workers and supervisors, professionals
you meet at industry events – even your
doctor and dentist – about your job search.
And, as more professionals are finding out, online
networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can
open up even more potential avenues for referrals.
You haven't registered with a staffing firm.
Registering with a staffing firm can dramatically
increase the size of your network. The professionals
who work for these companies have contacts throughout
their industries and often know of job openings
that are not being actively promoted. In addition,
the staffing professional you partner with can
handle much of the job-hunting legwork for you
by distributing your resume, setting up employment
interviews and keeping an eye out for promising
Even during periods of economic uncertainty, there
are jobs to be had, especially for candidates
who have the right skills and qualifications.
After all, companies are always looking for talented
employees. By avoiding the above job-hunting traps,
you'll be better able to demonstrate your value
to potential employers and strengthen your chances
of finding the job you want.
Robert Half International Inc. is the world's
first and largest specialized staffing firm with
a global network of more than 360 offices throughout
North America, South America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific
region. For more information about our professional
services, please visit www.rhi.com.