8 Mistakes to Avoid If You’re Job Hunting During COVID-19
Are you one of the millions who lost employment during the recent COVID-19 pandemic? If so, you have probably reworked your resume and are anxiously searching internet boards. If it’s been a while since you’ve job hunted, knowing what not to do when searching or applying for a job is as vital as running a spell check on your cover letter.
To avoid the biggest job-hunting and interview mistakes, you need to do your homework. It’s a daunting task — but to make it less stressful, here are eight tips to help when you’re job hunting during COVID-19:
Wearing the Wrong Thing
If you’re interviewing for a plumber’s position, you don’t need to wear a three-piece suit. However, sporting inappropriate attire remains one of the biggest interview mistakes. Even if you hope to score a lifeguard position, you wouldn’t show up in a swimsuit. Pass on anything low-cut or too revealing. You might need to lean forward or follow your interviewer on a brisk walk — pass on tight pencil skirts, stilettos and plunging necklines.
For a formal workplace, go with the traditional dark-colored suit, but do your research on company culture. More casual workplaces demand professional, clean and neatly pressed business casual dress. Yes, you must put on pants even if you are interviewing online. If the Human Resources (HR) rep asks to see your home office, you don’t want them catching a glimpse of your comfy Elmo pants when you stand up.
Falsifying Your Resume
Have you ever applied to a job that seemed ideal — only to arrive at the interview to discover they wanted an unpaid internship, or, worse, upfront investment to get hired? How did it make you feel? You probably felt cheated, and recruiters experience the same anger and frustration when you lie on your resume.
When you exaggerate or falsify your skills and experience, you set yourself up for disappointment and failure because you establish unrealistic expectations for yourself and your future employer. Worse, if news of your deceit makes the rounds, you could find yourself informally blacklisted. Be honest. You can work up to the salary you deserve.
When the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions?” do your eyes widen like a deer in headlights? What about when they ask, “What makes you want to work for this company specifically?” To wow potential employers, you must research the company and prepare a list of probing questions. After all, an interview is a two-way street, and you want to discover if the position is the right fit for you. The only way to find out is to ask.
Bad-Mouthing Former Employers
You have a captive audience — but that doesn’t mean it’s time to sound off about how you couldn’t stand the micromanaging culture at your last position. Hold your tongue, please. When it comes to what not to do when applying for a job, this advice ranks near the top.
No matter how wretched your former workplace was, if your interviewer hears you complaining about them, they will wonder if you will similarly bad-mouth them to others. You can say, “There was a bit of a culture mismatch,” but otherwise, stick to the facts. Look at the bright side — given the pandemic, they might not ask why you left your last job.
Neglecting Your Network
Experts estimate that anywhere between 70% and 85% of new jobs come from networking, not online job searches. While some internet boards have much to offer, one of the most frequent job-hunting mistakes is not asking those you know for leads. Make your friends and social media circles aware that you are in the market for new employment and ask for advice. Most folks adore sharing tips and helping others reach their goals.
Exhibiting Unprofessional Behavior
What should you not do when job searching? You never want to display unprofessional behavior publicly — this advice extends beyond the interview room. You don’t want to be like the unfortunate soul who lost their job before their first day due to an inappropriate social media post. Before posting anything, ask yourself if it is true, necessary and kind. If it doesn’t meet that standard, control your fiery fingertips.
Forgetting to Follow Up
A well-worded thank-you note can determine whether you get the position, but three out of four seekers fail to send one, making this advice rank on the list of top job search mistakes. The internet allows you to do so by email. Make sure to get the names, titles and email addresses of all interviewers. In your message, reiterate what excites you most about the open role and the unique qualifications you bring to it.
Jumping at the First Opportunity
Finally, you might feel an enormous amount of desperation right now. However, your frantic behavior makes you less attractive to employers. It also could hinder your career trajectory. Remember the old saying, “Time is money”? If you take a low-paying, miserable position that you despise, it’s a million times harder to muster the energy at the end of the workday to look for better opportunities.
Write a list of what you need in a position. Understand that you might need to be more flexible than usual on starting salary and benefits due to the downturn, but don’t sell yourself short. It’s okay to ask, “I realize that things are slow right now, and the initial pay rate is understandable in that context. However, what realistic expectations can I have for advancement when things recover?” If your interviewer beats around the bush, it’s an indication that they need a body to fill a specific role, and they’re not interested in your growth and potential.
Avoid the Biggest Job Hunting and Interview Mistakes
It’s a competitive market, and you need to avoid the biggest job-hunting and interview mistakes. By knowing what not to do when job searching, you can increase your chances of success.
This guest post was authored by Alyssa Abel
Alyssa Abel is a college and career writer who offers advice on strategies to success. Read more of her work on her blog, Syllabusy.