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Worst Mistakes Job Hunters Make
As important as it is to have your tools in order, focusing too long or too hard on perfecting these tools - and not getting in the game - is self-defeating. You can have the "perfect" resume, but it won't have any value unless someone of influence gets to read it.
Take, for example, the stonecutter sharpening his axe, in anticipation of turning a piece of granite into a work of art. Each day he sharpens his axe. Each day the granite waits. Get your job tools ready - but then get in the game!
You've probably heard the old adage, "It's not what you know, but who you know." Well, that's changed. Today it's "Who you know, what you know, and how often you put the two together."
Job hunters who only think about networking when they need something are making a huge mistake. If you're not a contributing partner, forget about it. Your network contacts may be willing to help you the first time, but they will quickly lose their enthusiasm.
Take for example that friend. You know, that friend who only seems to call or come around when he or she needs something? That friend who appears and disappears as their needs warrant? We all have one or two of those types of "friends" or colleagues. Where on your list of daily priorities does this person fit? If you want your network of contacts to really go to bat for you, then you need to be someone worthy of the effort. Networking is an ongoing process of give and take. What you get out of it is directly influenced by what you put into it.
Your network includes everyone you know and everyone you come in contact with, including: friends, family, colleagues, coworkers, clients, employers, neighbors, community professionals, professional association members... and so on.
When you're job hunting, it's an undeniable fact that you're selling and marketing a product (you) to a targeted market (potential employer).
Have you ever purchased a product on the premise of how it will benefit the seller?
Imagine, for example, someone selling vacuum cleaners at your local vacuum cleaner store. Instead of the salesperson telling you all the benefits of the vacuum cleaner, how it will do all that you hope and need it to do, he or she tells you instead, "I really need you to buy this vacuum cleaner. If I don't make my quota this month, my boss might fire me. It's really been a slow month. Besides, I have my eye on this new car and if you buy this vacuum cleaner I might be able to afford the down-payment."
A potential employer wants to know what you bring to the table, why hiring you will benefit him/her and the company. He or she wants to know how you're going to make a valuable contribution - and hopefully, immediately. What you hope to gain from the experience is only of interest - again - in how that interest will benefit the employer (needs income, enjoys the specific work involved, is looking forward to being a contributing member = potential longevity and employee commitment).
Simply put, if you don't have enough honest achievements to boast about in your current or last position, then: 1) find a better position where you can make a real contribution, and/or 2) work harder to be an exemplary employee.
Or, you may just need a outstanding resume writer to help you recognize your contributions J.
There is no job on earth where you can't make a positive difference. Sure, there are jobs that offer limited opportunity, there are employers who like the status quo and don't appreciate change or initiative, and there are managers who will take credit for their staff's contributions, but the truth remains that if you choose to be a great employee you will be one.
Lying or fabricating the truth is deadly. See #8 of the "Eight Worst Resume Mistakes" for a great example. When interviewing, focus on your contributions and be ready to provide real world examples. Interview Questions Quiz.
Potential employers view employed candidates as having greater hiring value.
Unemployed candidates often make job decisions based on an immediate need (income relief, etc.), rather than on whether the potential position fits well with their true skills, current career goals, or long-term career plans.
If at all possible, begin your job search before losing or resigning from your current position.
"How much does this position pay?" "What are the employee benefits?" "How much vacation time can I expect?" should be the last questions you ask a potential employer. Refer to #4 of this article for the first reason why. But not negotiating salary effectively can be just as detrimental.
Aside from keeping the focus of this negotiation on what you have to offer, rather than what you're hoping to secure, you need a solid understanding of the current pay scale for the type of position, industry, and location you're targeting. You also need a clear understanding of the type of money you need and deserve. Armed with this information, your next job is to get the potential employer or hiring manager to reveal what he or she has budgeted for the position. See more on salary negotiation, salary requirements and salary history.
For some job hunters, talking about salary is uncomfortable. Don't let the discomfort cause you to undersell yourself or settle for less than you deserve. Over-inflating your expectations can equally put you out of the game.
Follow-up falls under a variety of categories, including:
Good luck in your job search! Sue Campbell, 1st-Writer.com - over 18 years experience helping clients achieve their career and business goals. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have. I'll be glad to help!
1st-Writer.com • P.O. Box 1128, Keystone Heights, FL 32656-1128 • (904) 248-2493 • E-mail Sue Campbell
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