The job market is tougher than it has been in years, and with so many worthy candidates ready and able to do a job, employers are much less likely to look over mistakes you may make in your interviewing and application process. Though many of these mistakes were once risky, they have become fatal to your chances of getting a job.
Before Your Search Starts
1. Don’t push for a job when networking. When you meet someone in your chosen field outside of the hiring process, it is far better to ask for advice than it is to hound for a job. If you make a good impression and the employer has an opening, she will let you know. She may even give you leads for other companies that are hiring and the right people to contact. This information is vital to a successful job search.
2. Waiting for something to fall into your lap. There may have been a time when this would happen, but no longer. Unemployment has been running at a high unseen in years, and your competition is actively seeking employment, and so should you.
3. Don’t send out a stock cover letter. Businesses want to see that you know what they do and how you can best fit in among their employees. You would rather receive a professionally written essay or a personal note than a form letter, and the same is true for employers. The same goes for your resume. If you can tailor your experience for a given field, do it.
4. Don’t stay angry. You may have left your previous employer on unfavorable terms, but if you allow any feelings of spite toward your old boss or co-workers bleed into an interview, hiring managers will most likely view you as a negative person and a poor fit for their business.
5. Failing in the follow-up. It was once customary for a job-seeker to request confirmation from employers they received a resume, but with the number of resumes and the shift to electronic applications, such requests need to be more tactful than in the past. You should send a follow-up, but be polite and be wary of hounding an employer with these requests. You want to be remembered for the right reasons.
6. Know the going salary for your experience level and the business’ region. Employers will often ask you about salary during your interview, so you need to be aware of what you can offer and what they can offer you. Asking for a salary that is only acceptable for someone with years’ more experience than you will almost instantly turn off employers. Asking for far less can make you appear desperate or ignorant of the field.
7. Prepare for interview questions. You may not be able to predict everything you might be asked in an interview, but you can guess at some of the most common questions and find others in job articles. Think about your answers and practice them. You will go into an interview looking prepared and capable of thinking on your feet.
One Last Note
Though this won’t cost you a job, send a thank you letter following an interview. It will show your appreciation for the hiring manager’s time and keep your name in her mind. A well-worded letter can put you a head above your competition.