5 Typical Job Search Mistakes and How to Solve Them

Have you been applying to jobs with no response? 

Before we take on a new client for our career coaching program, we have a free consultation call to discuss their goals and struggles with the job application process. From the countless calls we have hosted, we have compiled the typical job search mistakes job seekers are making and how to address them effectively. Take a sneak-peek of only a portion of the kind of ways we support our clients to land their dream job. 

1. You are sending the same resume and generic cover letter to all employers

Resumes

The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. Each company has different needs, goals, and requirements. Your resume should speak directly to how you are the right candidate to fulfill their needs which is why at times you will tailor your resume when applying. 

Tip: To build a resume that will reflect the jobs you are sourcing and limit the amount of tailoring required, source 4-5 job postings that match your ideal job description. Highlight keywords that appear often and across postings. Pay attention to overlapping responsibilities, requirements, and qualifications. If they appear on different job postings, you should add it to your resume. 

You do not have to tailor every single resume you send out, but you should be reviewing the job description carefully and comparing it to your resume every single time.

If not, you should adjust your resume.

This is incredibly important for your resume to make it to the lap of a hiring manager.  According to Jobscan, over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). “Rather than manually reviewing each resume, recruiters and hiring managers can search for resumes based on keywords, or have the system filter or automatically rank applicants.”

For support on getting started on your resume, check out  How to Write a Resume.

Cover Letters

Your cover letter should be tailored 100% of the time. It’s very obvious when a job seeker is using a generic template and only changing the job title and company name. Sometimes, job seekers even forget to change that. While it would support you to have a cover letter template, you should be tailoring each one to the role you are applying to. If the job posting says, “cover letter optional,” include a cover letter! Some applicants won’t bother with the extra work, but if you take the time to write a great cover letter, it can help set you apart. According to ResumeLab, about 83% percent of hiring managers will take cover letters into consideration when making a hiring decision. 

A few key pointers for the cover letter:

  • Address why you are interested in this company specifically, discuss their mission and values
  • Address your relevant experience that is not redundant to your resume. One option is to flesh out a bullet point from your resume that is directly related to how you can excel in the role and company you are applying to. 
  • Discuss the best relevant qualities and skills you possess that make the ideal candidate for this role.
  • End with a note that opens the floor for a meeting, interview, phone call, etc. 

Your cover letter should further speak into how you are the right candidate for the company.

2. You are not following up 

On an application:

Follow up with an email to the recruiter after applying to a job if you have not heard back and it is a top priority job for you. Recruiters and hiring managers are people too, sometimes they get overwhelmed at work and applications fall through the cracks.

Some job postings will have the recruiter’s contact information, in which case your job is easy. Follow up on your application 1-2 weeks after applying. If the job posting has no information on the recruiter, do some research. You want your follow-up email to land in the inbox of a person that is involved in the hiring process at the company. Start with looking at the company’s website and searching for a staff directory page  This is often listed under “About Us” as: Meet The Team, Who We Are, Our Leadership or any variation of these phrases. You are looking for someone with Human Resources in their title or the person in charge of the department you are seeking to work in. If you are looking at startup companies, you will likely not find someone with a Human Resources or Hiring Manager title. In that case, you want to look for someone with an Operations and/or Administration title. LinkedIn is also a great source to search for the right person. Search for the company name and select “See all X employees on Linkedin.” Again, you are looking for employees with Human Resources, Recruiter, or Hiring Manager in their title or the person that manages the department. You can cross-reference the name you found on the company site to LinkedIn to put a face to a name. 

Hi [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I hope your day is off to a great start. I am reaching out in regards to my application for the [position title] position. I applied on [date] and have kept my eye on the role as I believe I am a great fit for the role. 

I have [#] years of [industry] experience in [industry you are applying for] and throughout the years have mastered my skills in [skills related to the role[. I am excited about the opportunity to join [company name] and help [tasks they need help with or are the company’s mission e.g. increase sales/manage projects effectively/reduce food waste in our country] with your team.

I have attached my resume for your convenience. Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional materials. 

I look forward to hearing from you,

[Your Name]

[Phone number]

[LinkedIn]

On an interview:

Always follow up after an interview with a thank-you email. If you had a phone interview and for some reason, you do not have the interviewer’s email, request it before the end of the call and then follow up afterward with a thank you email. If you had an in-person interview with multiple people, send a follow-up email to each interviewer, separately. These are short and simple. No more than 100 words. Do your best to include details specific to your interview, a detail that would allow them to remember who you are. 

For example:

Hi, Joe, 

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me today. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the position and the company. After interviewing with you, I am positive I am well-qualified for the position. My experience as a Customer Service Manager at Silver Financial Solutions closely align with the functions of the Client Success Manager position at Cloud Nine Technologies. As discussed, I would be excited to implement more training materials and team-building exercises with fellow employees.   

I also very much enjoyed learning about the company. I was especially intrigued by Cloud Nine Technology’s commitment to giving back. As a volunteer at my local Boys and Girls Club, I know how influential mentoring can be for at-risk children. 

Again, thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. 

Best, 

[Name]

3. You are not dedicating your time to prepare, research, and apply.

Dedicating time to apply:

The job search process requires commitment, attention to detail, and consistency. Schedule a time block every day when you dedicate yourself to applying to jobs. Consider it your temporary part-time job to find a job. It is highly recommended you search daily instead of spending 10-15 hours over the weekend on it. Jobs are released daily and by the time you check over the weekend, there could be hundreds of applicants ahead of you for competitive roles. Also, writing cover letters is part of the application process and requires you to research and properly address how you are the right candidate for them. 

Dedicating time to prepare and research:

Getting an interview is an amazing accomplishment. This is your time to shine! Treat an interview like a research project. Learn all about the interviewer, the company, its mission, values, leaders, competitors, culture, and the job position available.

Go on Glassdoor and click on their “Interviews” tab. There you can review comments and prepare for how the company could hold the interview. Glassdoor is a great resource, especially for midsize to large companies.  

While you will likely spend more of your hours on preparing and researching for the interview, continue to look for jobs. Oftentimes, we see people stop applying for jobs when they are in the interviewing process because they hope it will work out. You could potentially lose out on 2 weeks’ worth of applications if there is no offer at the end of the process.

4. You are not networking 

According to PayScale, over 70% of people are in their current position due to networking. The wider you cast your net to find a job, the more opportunities you will come across. Take advantage of social media sites, especially LinkedIn to network. Actively put yourself on the market, make connections, and nurture them. Be clear about your target job, geographic area, and any other pertinent information. Do not reach out and vaguely say you are seeking a job opportunity in an industry and attach your resume.

You may be surprised by how willing people are to connect you to a job posting or someone they know, which they can only do if they know you are looking for it!

While the process of finding a job is challenging, it is also challenging for hiring managers to find the right candidate. While you read job posting after job posting, there is a recruiter reading resume after resume. It costs money for a company to hire someone, and they want to make sure they hire the right person. Networking will increase your chances

Consult people in your personal and professional networks. These people will be able to help you understand what steps you need to take to understand the ins and outs of another field. 

You may also network with people and request an informational interview. As stated in Berkeley’s Career Center, “An informational interview is an informal conversation you can have with someone working in an area of interest to you. It is an effective research tool and is best done after preliminary online research.  It is not a job interview, and the objective is not to find job openings.”

Hello X, 

My name is Nora Jones, and I am interested in switching career paths. I have extensive experience in the Hospitality industry, which could be beneficial in the Healthcare industry. Your LinkedIn profile certainly proves you are a successful Healthcare Administrator for Silver Palms Medical Group. I would love to learn more about you and your career path. 

Thank you so much for your time. I look forward to connecting with you. 

Best, 

Nora

Never underestimate the power of flattery. People are often willing to help those who display complete respect for them. 

5. You are not valuing yourself

The job search process requires you to market yourself as THE candidate. To do so, you must believe you are, regardless of competition. 

Our career coaching program includes a portion dedicated to building your resume. We host a call to breakdown and truly understand your work experience to create a resume that rings true to you. There have been countless times where a client begins with a few of these statements: 

I didn’t really do that much

I can’t really say I had a huge accomplishment

I just did X, Y Z 

Usually, by the end of the resume session, we’ve pulled out numerous accomplishments that showcase our client’s skills, talents, and qualifications. Even the client is surprised by how the resume turns out because they didn’t realize how much work they were doing until we asked many questions. Similarly, clients struggle with the interview process because they do not go it confidently. The interview is your time to shine, discuss all your abilities, and how you can be a great asset to the company. Do you question if you are the right fit for a job? Do you question if you are going to be able to get the salary you want? Do you apply or go into an interview thinking about the parts of the job description you are unsure of? If so, it is probably showing up in the limited jobs you are applying to, the phone screens not turning into in-person interviews, or lack of networking growth.

This is very important to address. First, do not focus on the things you have not accomplished or do not have extensive knowledge of. Focus on what you do have. Second, do not compare yourself to other potential candidates. There is always someone with more credentials on paper. Third, remind yourself every day of all the accomplishments you have achieved. Review your resume to go through all of your amazing qualities. Fourth, record yourself practicing general interview questions until you know you are responding confidently. Lastly, if needed, follow Grey’s Anatomy trick from Amelia Shephard and do a superman pose for a few minutes. 

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At Prepory, we recognize there is more to college applications than demonstrating interest. Contact us now to learn more about how we can guide you through each part of the college admissions process!