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 of job-hunting mistakes frequently made during a recession.
Mistake #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, your talents, broadening your interests and driving your career development. If you don’t you may well be left behind.
Mistake #2: Focusing on Yourself, Not the Employer.
Spend your time finding out what needs of a potential employer 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 #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 him or herself into the position. Suck it up and move on.
Mistake #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 over-qualified. 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, work ethic. Sell yourself based on what you have.
Mistake #5: Looking for a Silver Bullet.
Some job hunters swear by recruiters; others by on-line 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 on-line job postings, contacting appropriate 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 #6: Absorbing Too Much News Media.
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), to avoid employers who have had a reduction or layoff (bad strategy) or 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.
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