10 things you’re doing wrong in your job search

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hireme2You’ve got the flawless résumé, impeccable credentials and the perfect look — you are an employer’s dream candidate. So why hasn’t your job search been successful?

Sure, it’s a bad economy, but there are people finding jobs out there. Have you ever thought that maybe – just maybe — it’s you? 

From your attitude to your interview skills, Tony Beshara says there could be things that you can do to improve your job search results.

Consider these 10 things from his book “The Job Search Solution: The Ultimate System for Finding a Great Job Now!” (Amacom):

1. You’re not making finding a job a job itself!
Many people don’t adopt a committed, passionate, failure-is-not-an-option attitude and don’t recognize that finding a job is a numbers game. When it comes to interviews, it’s all numbers: the more interviews you get, the better your chances of getting called back; the more times you’re called back, the better your chances of landing a good job.

2. You haven’t developed a system of finding a job.
The system should entail everything from goals and intentions that dictate planned activity to role-playing of interviews.

3. You have an unrealistic idea about the market for your skills.
There is a tendency for people to overinflate the ease of their ability to find a job, based on a distorted view of the marketability of their skills. This can lead to frustration and disappointment when the job search takes longer than expected.

4. You aren’t acknowledging the psychological and emotional stress that changing jobs entails.
By denying this reality, people operate out of fear of rejection. They confuse activity with productivity and focus on minor things that appear to be job-finding activities, but aren’t the most fruitful activities.

5. You ignore small businesses.
You’ve forgotten or don’t realize that 97 percent of the businesses in the United States employ fewer than 100 people. America is not run by big business. It is run by small groups of people who organized to provide goods and services.

6. You don’t recognize that face-to-face interviews are the only things that matter.
There are all kinds of things you can do to get face-to-face interviews, but you have to get them. Pulling out all the stops by doing anything you can to get in front of a hiring authority with pain (the need to hire someone) is key.

7. You don’t prepare well for interviews.
Most people are either not confident in themselves or act arrogant in the interviewing process simply because they are not as prepared as they should be. They don’t prepare and practice presentations on themselves with others.

8. You’re not selling yourself.
The vast majority of people going into an interviewing situation simply don’t sell themselves very well. People neglect to do everything from dress properly to focus on what they can do for a prospective employer. And worst of all, they don’t come right out and ask for the job.

9. You have the attitude, “What can you do for me?”
Most people consider interviews a two-way street. They believe that the employer is just as responsible for selling them on the company and the job as they are for selling themselves to the employer. They don’t realize that there is nothing to consider until you have an offer. If you give enough reasons to employers as to why they ought to hire you and what you can do for them, they will give you plenty of answers on what they can do for you.

10. You give poor reasons for leaving your job.
Whether it’s why you left your last employer or why you want a new job, most people present the reason from a selfish point of view. They badmouth and criticize their current or past employers and justify their own convictions, thinking that a prospective employer is going to identify with them. They’re wrong!

27 Comments
  1. First impressions take only 8 seconds to form – pay attention to your appearance

    Too often prospects make basic errors when presenting themselves for hire. Here are a few tips on making the right impression:

    1. Invest in the right attire

    What many interviewees don’t seem to understand is that like the business at which they’re interviewing, the job hunters themselves are selling something: themselves. Dressing for success starts with the first impression you make on the person conducting the interview, not the first meeting with a prospective client after you’ve secured the job. It’s a lot like that ad industry adage about spending money to make money; that is, if you want to land a new job, you need to look like you already have it. I once interviewed a man that had one of those ties that had a picture of a bottle of Tabasco, it was one of those cheap ties from the 80’s – don’t be that guy.

    2. Personal grooming

    In addition to styling your hair conservatively, it’s a good idea to go easy on the aftershave or cologne. You don’t want to smell like you’re going out for a night on the town, that sends the wrong signal immediately. I often get headaches when I encounter strong scents, some people have allergies. A professional manicure isn’t necessary for women, but if you choose to sport one make sure your nails are of a minimal length and painted in a conservative polish. Because the handshake is an important part of the interview, short, clean fingernails are a must for men.

    3. Accessories

    Jewelry and other accessories should be tasteful, conservative, and minimal. Long dangly jewelry is a turnoff to many; ladies should stick to a short string of pearls or tasteful, minimalist, neutral tones – leave the mood rings at home. Certainly, if you wish to convey some personality, a touch of pizzazz is warranted. This could take the form of a single style piece, whether it’s a tie with some personality or a scarf or other accent item for women, just keep it simple. Men should dispense with the chunky gold bracelets and stick with a simple ring like a wedding band sending the signal of stability. Investing in a professional looking briefcase or attaché can immediately convey that you mean business.

    4. Don’t be too casual

    One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to choosing interview apparel is thinking it’s okay to “dress down” depending on the type of job for which they’re applying. Just because a job may require you to wear a company-provided uniform rather than professional wear is not a license to show up in jeans and a T-shirt for the interview.

    Whether you’re interviewing for a job at Tiffany’s or Intel, it’s always better to be overdressed in an interview than underdressed. When interviewing for less formal positions, a white dress shirt and dark pants are appropriate business casual wear, whereas a dark suit is best for a job that requires business formal wear. Black suits and black ties are more evening wear, as is bright colored shirts, you never know how conservative your interviewer will be and they’re often older than those they are interviewing. Women should also take care to not wear anything revealing.

    5. Don’t over do it

    Having said all of the above, some interviewees end up overdressing. Diamond cufflinks, $100 armani ties and patent leather shoes for men could send the wrong message; it could either be evening formal wear which is a complete disconnect from the attire expected in an interview, or one could be demonstrating wealth beyond the position being sought. For women, flashy evening wear that may be expensive, simply isn’t appropriate. You want to appear business like, not like you’re attending a ball or anniversary dinner.
    6. Smile and be positive

    There is no better way to make a positive impression on your interviewer than to smile – that’s the best thing anyone can wear to an interview. Of course, don’t force the smile throughout the interview, but too often interviewees show little energy and gaze at the floor. Be positive, people love to work with positive, enthusiastic people that create a strong work environment.

    In most cases your appearance in an interview plays just as important a role as your resume, how you respond to the interview questions, and your skills and experience. Remember also that looking your best will boost your confidence, which will come across in the interview as well.

    Neal Dodd writes for Briefcases Direct, a website that offers luxury briefcases direct from the manufacturer. Neal lives in NYC with partner Becka and miniature doxin, Walt.

  2. What if you’re applying to places- including small businesses. Do mock interviews, have interview outfits steam and pressed ready for a months worth of interviews…are on every jobsite, are e-mailing and calling follow ups on applications, for 12 hours a day, and a year later you still have no job, and have gotten only 5 interviews in that year, and when you ask what could have done to improve all they say is that you were great but people with more experience were hired and there were limited job slots? Especially with small businesses? What does a person do then?

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  12. I’m still looking for work but I have asked for and currently receiving help from 1. I live in the city where my college is located. Their Career Center is helping me with resources and job leads. 2. I am accepted into a grant funded organization which assists mature experienced workers with resume help and job leads. They also call employers I have applied with to encourage interviews.
    Granted my interviews are few but at least I don’t feel so alone in my job search. Ask for and accept every bit of help you can get.

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