3 Job Search Mistakes Most People are Making
I’ve received lots of great emails from college seniors and recent grads this week. These emails make me even more excited about the Job Search Boot Camp Guide coming out next month!
Many of you are making 3 serious job search mistakes. We need to clear these up if you want to get a job.
#1: You believe your job search is completely dependent on your resume and cover letter.
Wrong. In a perfect world, your resume is more of a formality than a necessity. If someone already knows you or has received an excellent recommendation of you, they are more focused on getting to know you in the interview rather than picking through the details of your resume.
A bad resume is definitely getting cut, but a great resume does not guarantee you the job.
Let’s be honest, I don’t care how many cool internships you’ve had or what your GPA is: many employers feel that an entry-level candidate is an entry-level candidate. In large companies you may have to meet a certain GPA or major requirement, but much past that, it’s all about you.
Your personal brand is what lands you a job. Not your resume. Your personal brand should match online, offline, in your personality and in your appearance. The way you write your LinkedIn profile, what you say online, and who you meet in person are a few important aspects of a job seekers personal brand.
#2: The Internet is the only tool you have used to aid your job search.
I’ve been doing a lot of research for Job Search Boot Camp and have found career expert, after career expert claiming that 80% of open positions are not posted online. They also claim that the vast majority of job seekers rely solely on the Internet to find a new job.
To turn this idea into simple math, this means that roughly 80% of the people are going for 20% of the jobs. Not only are those online jobs way more competitive, they are most likely more generic than those you’d find offline.
So what does this mean for you? It means that if you’re smart, you’d be playing in the offline field where you’d be one of the 20% looking at 80% of the jobs.
If you’re willing to go against the crowd, get a little uncomfortable and stop hiding behind your computer screen, I think you’ll have a much shorter job search than most. Getting offline means:
- Pick up the phone.
- Pick it up again after no one calls you back.
- Deal with people who may not want to talk to you.
- Ask for recommendations and introductions.
- Go to a lot of coffee meetings and informational interviews.
- Make a list of companies you’d like to work for then use online tools to see who is connected to those companies. Once you connect with them, take the relationship offline.
- Stop judging your progress by the number of online job applications you sent into a random company where you know no one. Instead, monitor your progress based on how many meetings you set up.
- Set up meetings with all of your favorite professors. Chat, listen and get career advice. Maybe they will introduce you to some great people too.
- Go to a lot of events whether they are networking events, Greek life events, campus speakers, or parties (true story: I got a job offer by connecting with someone at a party). You can rock an event even if you are super shy. More on this in the guide.
- Ask everyone you meet a lot of questions about themselves and what they do. People love talking about themselves. The more you talk about them, the more they like you and want to help you.
- You’ll also learn a lot of things about a lot of industries by talking to people. Regardless of if their industries are similar to yours, having these discussion will broaden your perspective and conversations when you start interviewing.
- Don’t say “I need a job” when you are engaging in these offline activities. Rather, ask them about their job.
- Email authors, bloggers, speakers and introduce yourself.
- Talk to people at the bar, at Cubs games, and on the treadmill (another true story: I have made serious career connections at all 3 of the mentioned locations).
- Tap into your Greek system or alumni network. For people like me that are still obsessed with their sorority and college, receiving an email from a current student would make my day. I’m sure many others feel the same.
- Disarm people you meet by asking, “what would you do if you were in my shoes?”
Job searching is like dating. If you’re looking to date with the intention of finding a partner, you can use online tools to meet people, but after that it has to be taken offline to lead to something more.
If you’re in the dating game, you don’t just sit in your apartment hoping someone will magically ring the doorbell and appear (or at least I hope not).
Dating is a process of meeting people, getting to know people, getting rejected, finding out what you want and don’t want, and getting yourself out there. Apply the same strategies here.
#3: You believe networking yields instant results.
After all this research, I think the next guide I write will be for those just starting college. News flash: successful networking doesn’t start 2 months before graduation. If you’ve missed the boat on this one, be prepared to spend some time building relationships.
I get emails that say “I don’t get it! I called them and they didn’t call back!” or “These people liked me and said to keep in touch. How annoying! I want a job offer now!” I’m sorry if you believed signing up for Twitter would single handedly land you a job.
This is going to be a process. It’s going to take time. Be patient. I know it sucks that you can’t tell all of your annoying relatives and “Type A” friends that you aren’t sure what you’re doing after graduation, but you need to ride the wave.
I hope this posts helps you job seekers pump up the volume. If you have any specific questions on how to take your job search offline, let me know here in the comments or via email ([email protected]). I’m working on some scripts, email templates, etc. to help you make the transition from online to offline.
Help other job seekers
- How have you taken your job search offline? What has worked well for you?
- Have you made any of these mistakes?
- Does taking your search offline intimidate you?