6 Job Search Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make

Dr. Paul Powers, psychologist, author of "Winning Job Interviews" and "Love Your Job!"

job searchIn any economic climate, job hunting is nobody's idea of fun. And with the growing number of folks hitting the bricks these days, it seems the task is getting even harder. But that's not precisely true, because the actual job-hunting strategies and techniques remain the same in any climate. What is bothersome, however, is that the process is likely to take longer. This leads to increased stress: financial stress, physical stress, emotional stress and family stress.

Most people do not perform at their best in stressful situations. They get tired more quickly, they get frustrated and run out of patience, and they make mistakes. Here are six job-hunting mistakes frequently made during a recession.


Mistake No. 1: Feeling entitled

In the new economy, your stellar background, great track record, prestigious degree and glowing references guarantee you nothing. The new employment paradigm is, "What have you done for me lately?" You must be constantly developing your skills and talents, broadening your interests and driving your career development. If you don't, you may well be left behind.


Mistake No. 2: Focusing on yourself, not the employer

Spend your time finding out which of a potential employer's needs are unmet instead of touting your brilliance. Saying, "I need a job" is irrelevant and depressing; that's your problem and has nothing to do with why this organization is hiring. Uncovering an employer's problem areas demonstrates your bona-fide interest, and offering your solutions demonstrates your critical thinking, creativity and approach to problem solving. This is how to get hired.


Mistake No. 3: Taking rejection personally

Face it; there are a lot of jobs you are not going to land. Use rejection as an opportunity to assess and build your job-hunting skills. Evaluate what you could have done better in your research or interview or with your follow-up. If you aren't getting rejected regularly, then you either aren't working hard enough to get your foot in the door or you're applying for jobs beneath your capabilities. No employer makes a decision not to hire you; they make a decision to hire someone else who did a better job of selling himself or herself into the position.


Mistake No. 4: Focusing on your age

It is human nature to focus more on one's perceived weaknesses as opposed to one's strengths. This is especially true for people in the job hunt. Younger folks worry about not having enough experience; older folks worry about looking overqualified. If you don't want a potential employer to focus on your age, make sure you focus on what strengths you bring to the party: energy, track record, endurance, patience, technology skills, people skills, creativity and work ethic. Sell yourself based on what you have.


Mistake No. 5: Looking for a silver bullet

Some job hunters swear by recruiters; others by online job postings. The latest buzz is that social networking sites are making all other job-hunting techniques obsolete. There is no one best way to job hunt. If you want to increase the effectiveness of your job search, you must spend more time on it and use every technique in the book. This means answering print ads, responding to online job postings, contacting recruiters, cold-contacting potential employers, networking your brains out and using social networking sites to pursue all of these strategies. Sorry, there are no silver bullets or genies in a bottle.


Mistake No. 6: Absorbing too much news

Yes, there's a recession. Yes, a lot of folks are out of work. And, yes, finding a job is a hard job in and of itself. But, no, the sky is not falling. And yes, if you work hard and long enough at it, you will land a good job. The media's motto is, "If it bleeds, it leads." Bad news is their stock in trade. You will never see a story about company hiring back 10 workers or a person who landed a great job after a rigorous job hunt. A regular diet of bad news will convince you that no one is hiring (untrue), that you should avoid employers that have had layoffs (bad strategy) or that maybe you should just move to China (bad idea unless you speak Mandarin). Get out, have some fun, work at keeping your energy and spirits up, and network with optimistic people.

Eventually this recession -- like all recessions -- will really be over and you'll be better prepared for (gulp) the next one.

Next: The Worst Resume Mistake and How to Avoid It >>


Dr. Paul Powers, psychologist, executive coach, career expert, and noted conference speaker is the author of "Winning Job Interviews" and "Love Your Job!" For a free subscription to his "LifeMap" newsletter, visit www.drpaulpowers.com.

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gerry

this is to alert everybody that DasNet is the company that don't pay Local Afghanistan companies payment for more than 3 months.dont work with them.

July 26 2010 at 2:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jenny

thank you so much, God bless

May 12 2010 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Laurie

Hey folks! Thanks so much for the kind comments. I know how frustrated I got, so I am glad to help spare others the frustration! I am so happy that I never gave up, and found such a great company to start my own business with! I have not found a way to reply back to individual users here... and I can't post any attachments. The list is 2 pages long, so I don't think this is the best way to share it. If you have already requested via a reply here (Lori, Doris, Sue, Emma, Gerry) you will need to email me at LLeverington@nc.rr.com and I can send you the information right away! I hope you get this note so I can help you!

April 29 2010 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stan

More garbage. Yuou people are feeding on the unemployed.

April 19 2010 at 7:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pecolia

you know what I also look at this printer friendly job search mistakes, amply apply them to everyday use when applying for a job, this is probably why I have not even come close to 2 years now from gettting a job. This is all information overload, the resume the cover letter the 10001 passwords for every postion applied for. How can you not take rejections personallly, when they cannot even respectly reject you my e-mail and the more I look for a job the older I become even if you have superior strengths to offer. I don't know maybe its me. But I am tried.

April 12 2010 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Laurie

Hey Lori and Doris... you're both very welcome. I know it was very frustrating and I'm always glad to help someone else save a ton of time! Others have certainly done it for me! My team leaders do it all the time! I'll be glad to send you the information; however, can you email me please? That way I can reply to your email; there is no way to attach documents in this forum. My email is LLeverington1@nc.rr.com.

April 04 2010 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bigbadjohn

the first mistake is thinking there are jobs out there.

April 03 2010 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jeff

I went from H.S. to Air Force. Ten years later I started working for Defense Contractors. The thing I realized is yes the pay is better but the benefits suck. However, we do the same job except no one throws us parades when we return alive. When we return the other way NO ONE sheds a tear. We do the dirty work that is politically unacceptable to send our young men to do. This must be the way SOME vietnam vets felt. Except they had it worse, no high pay and many were drafted. To live the anonymous life is good but sometimes it sucks, because we defend freedom as well. We work intensely and get paid double for 4 to 6 months a year then when back home, no pay at all, no leave, no group therapy, no support network, and no one looks after our wives or children wile we are gone, or when we are gone. They just get our last paycheck, prorated to the hour we die. There aught to be something done, the promise of high pay is only a lure, the costs are too high, but after ten years you have no useful skill and no 'official' education, and no job.

We fight and die and are hated by the people who hired us, the people of the United States.

...

April 03 2010 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Linda

DRESS FOR SUCCESS! Don't go to an interview sloppily dressed. Remove your facial(visable) body piercings,cover your tatto's. Jeans, tennis shoes or crocs are not appropriate attire. How you appear for your interview, says alot about your attitude,and work ethic.

April 03 2010 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lydia

People like Jesus are parasites. Hitching a free ride on the coattails of the working class. I have a relative just like that, actually. But it was worse because he involved kids. He HAD MORE BABIES SPECIFICALLY FOR getting a bigger welfare payment (he was eventually ordered to stop...AT 9!). So, I guess Jesus' mooching isn't so bad, but then again, that's like being proud for being the smartest retard on the short bus.

April 03 2010 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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