It’s a hard task, grabbing the attention of recruiters and hiring managers. Job hunters need a strong CV, a punchy cover letter and plenty of forward-planning when it comes to interview. Sounds simple, right? Wrong! Here are 7 silly mistakes that many job hunters make during a job search and tips on how to avoid them…
1. Typos and grammatical errors
Ask any recruiter what their biggest bugbear is and chances are they’ll say poor spelling and grammatical errors. No matter how many times candidates are reminded to pay attention to detail during their job search, spell check and make sure applications are addressed to the correct person, this is still the most common mistake that people make. It goes without saying you should proof read applications, triple-check for errors and make sure that all details in your cover letter are correct. It’s worthwhile getting someone else to read through your CV, cover letter and application too – as they may spot things that you hadn’t noticed.
2. Too many clichés
Whilst all skills are beneficial, many candidates don’t pick out achievements that are specific to the role they are applying for. Hiring managers will have heard that candidates are ‘team players’ and ‘have great communication skills’ many times. Whilst these are useful, they are nevertheless expected. You need to think about what exact skills and experience the employer wants to see. But don’t just list them, provide examples of how you’ve actually put them into practice and what the end result was.
3. Not having a LinkedIn profile
Most recruiters use social media in one way or another, if only to vet candidates before they decide whether to invite them for interview. If they can’t find you on a professional network, this raises a question mark. Furthermore if your experience exactly matches that of another candidate on paper, your LinkedIn profile may set you apart. For example you may have shared some content that resonates with the interviewer. But remember that whilst LinkedIn is great for building up a solid network of professional contacts, it’s only useful in your job search if you’ve established it in advance. Don’t wait until you really need it – by then it’s probably too late.
4. Not using initiative
The jobs market is a competitive one and it’s not often a role lands in your lap without some effort on your part. One of the biggest mistakes many candidates make is not using initiative in their job search. It’s often said, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who,’ and candidates can forget that it is often friends and professional contacts that come up with leads or introductions. Be smart about how you network and look for mutual connections with people who interest you. If you have an interview with a company, look at whether there is anyone within your professional circle who has inside knowledge of its culture, or what it values in its employees.
5. Not dressing appropriately
If you’ve made it to interview, remember that there are more things you’ll be judged on than just skills and experience. One of those things will be how you present yourself. You might not need to be suited and booted, but you will need to look smart. In the employer’s eyes, looking like you haven’t made any effort could mean you also have a sloppy approach to your work.
6. Showing negativity
Who do employers want as their employees? Whoever it might be, it’s certainly not someone who complains all the time. Many candidates looking for a new job usually have at least one thing to bemoan about their current role, but an interview environment is not the place to let off steam. Concentrate on the positive aspects and emphasise that you’re striving for a new challenge. Recruiters appreciate honesty, but the mistake candidates make is letting their honesty turn into negativity.
7. Not following up
Your CV was shortlisted, the interview went well and you feel confident you made a good impression. So what’s going to seal the deal for you when it comes down to you and another candidate who fit the bill? Another mistake job hunters make is not following up with their interviewer. Not only does this put your name at the forefront of the recruiter’s mind, but it emphasises your keenness for the role. If the company feels you are determined and enthusiastic in following up, it will give them confidence that you will bring this drive to the role itself.
Are you looking for advice on finding your next role? If you’re struggling to know where to start, our specialist recruitment advisers are on hand to discuss your skills and experience and help you take the next step in your career. Get in touch today and see how we can help!