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Warning: These 7 Mistakes Will Destroy Your Job Search
Searching for a job is hard, really hard. It can feel like a maze of dead-ends. Knowing which way to go to keep moving forward toward your goals can be very difficult. As hard as it can be to know what you should be doing, it can be equally frustrating to discover what may be sabotaging your best efforts. These points below will help to lead you in the right direction
Determine your True Intent
What is your goal? Have you ever interviewed at a job that you didn’t really want? Maybe you were even relieved when you didn’t get it? Don’t waste your time or anyone else’s! As much as possible determine the direction you are heading and make a plan to get you there. Others can sense hesitation whether you realize it or not, it can cause problems from the start. Potential employers want to know that you REALLY want the position. Design the details of your resume and cover letter to truly illustrate what your goals and desires are. If you are not sure about your intent, it is time to do some soul-searching and find out.
Don’t Underestimate the Impact of Social Media
There are so many tools available to us to utilize in the job market these days. However, we need to use these tools with caution as they can also be detrimental to our image. Social media can be a great way to connect with others in your field, but a small mistake can reach a global market and have an impact on your future.
Statistics show that most job recruiters use social media in their overall evaluating of potential candidates for employment. Don’t ever assume that your profile will not be checked out; it is highly likely that it will be. Social media behaviors to be sure to avoid include oversharing, scandalous photos, partying and alcohol use, none of which will leave a positive impression. Also, be sure to take into account the damage that posting negative opinions about work or work related issues may pose. Do not publically complain or air dirty laundry, nothing productive can come of this. You want to have a clean social media presence. It may be a good idea to search your name and see what comes up, be prepared for any questions that may arise. If you are worried about your history, be sure to set all of your social media profiles to private.
Do Not Apologize for Experience You may Lack
From the first contact with a potential employer, whether it is in person, an emailed resume and cover letter, or a drop in, do not undersell yourself or focus on what may be lacking. Sometimes we become too hard on ourselves and lose our confidence when a job search takes an extended amount of time. We begin to feel like someone would be doing us a “favor” by hiring us. This is not the case and behaving as such could be detrimental to your prospects. Remember that your cover letter should highlight what you can do, not the other way around. Don’t use phrases like, “even though I”… or “in spite of…” Don’t be pessimistic, believe that good things can happen for you, and keep trying.
Present Expanded Job Titles
Often job titles can paint a picture that is not entirely accurate. Most positions require us to wear many hats; we should get credit for each of them. We need to present all of the relevant information. If your present or past job title undersells the actual work that you preformed in that position, than you need to add detail and make this clear to all those that read your resume and cover letter.
Don’t Ever Send Out Spelling or Grammar Errors
One of the most effective ways to miss an opportunity before you even truly get started is to put out a resume or cover letter that contains spelling or grammatical errors. Competition for positions can be fierce and most recruiters won’t waste a second on an applicant with such simple mistakes. You may think that these small issues will be overlooked, but don’t forget that they often demonstrate larger issues, such as laziness, missing attention to detail and so on. These are not characteristics that you want to be assumed to possess.
Show Some Respect
As you are in the process of job hunting, you will inevitably land some interviews. When you do there are a couple of rules that are not bendable. Do not ever, I mean ever, be late to an interview or even a casual meeting when you are expected at a pre-arranged time. There is no wiggle room on this and even though we might think, we are all human or it happens… it doesn’t happen to you! Not when making a first impression. Be prepared, plan extra time, practice driving to the location before the interview or meeting so that you are sure to have no problems. There are so many traits that we want to highlight about our self, let’s stick to the positive ones. Being late shows not only a lack of respect, but a lack of dependability. This will not get you the position.
Another topic that goes hand in hand with this one is, turn off your phone! No, it will not make you look important to receive calls during a meeting or interview. No, they do not want to hear about what is going on in your personal life right now. They want to see that in that moment, you value THEIR time above your own. They are what matters and pointless interruptions will leave a negative impression. It comes down to basic common courtesy that is all too often overlooked these days.
Determining what is going on with your job search can be difficult. You are most likely your own worst critic and it may be hard to get to the bottom of issues you are having. If you find that your search is not taking you in the direction you ultimately want to go, re-evaluate. Take a step back and re-route your course, do some self-diagnosis. If you are unable to come to any clear conclusion, it may serve you well to meet with a career coach to get an outside perspective. When talking about our future we must be willing to take uncomfortable steps at times, but the clarity is worth it. A job search it a journey. By working hard and staying focused you are sure to be successful.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
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5 Types of Cover Letters and When to Use Them vs. Using E-Note
Different types of cover letters? Isn’t one enough? Providing a great cover letter can be tough, and now we also need to know which type to use? Yes, yes you do. The correct type of cover letter will show that you REALLY know your stuff. We will also discuss E-Note. Haven’t heard of it? Maybe you have just never tried it? Let’s get familiar with all things cover letter.
Types of Cover Letters
Different types of cover letters are available to serve different purposes. Instead of thinking of it as another obstacle in the path of your desired job, think of the different types as tools. What good is a toolbox with only one tool? We need a variety to get the job done. Don’t use your cover letter as another way to reiterate your resume. Use it to show your assets and what makes you unique.
Let’s look at these tools in more detail:
Application Cover Letter. This is the one that you are probably the most familiar with. You use this to apply for a job opening that you know exists and that is hiring. Be sure to use a proper introduction and closing in a true professional letter format.
Interest Cover Letter. If you are trying to determine if there is an opening at the company this is the one for you. It is also called a prospecting letter. By taking the initiative and sending a cover letter and your resume you open the door and show them that you’re available and interested in working for their company.
Referral Cover Letter. Name dropping can actually be a good thing, at least when applying for a position. If you know someone who can offer a referral that could make a difference in you getting that coveted interview, don’t be afraid to use it. Of course, always be sure that you have permission to do so. Ensuring they will give you a good reference is also very important.
Job Promotion Cover Letter. If you are well overdue for a raise or promotion, it may be time to submit a job promotion letter. Be sure to lay out your reasoning in a well-written cover letter. You may also include an updated resume. Discuss any skills, additional training, etc. that they may have overlooked.
Networking Cover Letter. This type of cover letter can serve as a letter of recommendation to a company that may or may not be hiring. This letter will introduce you to a company illustrating your past experience. The neat thing here is that these letters can be written by other individuals who may be in the position to recommend you for a job.
E-Note vs. Cover Letter
So now that you are up to speed on the most common types of cover letters, let’s throw in on more up and coming star, the E-Note. If you have been in the job market for very long, you have probably pondered the question of whether or not the e-note is replacing the traditional cover letter. Is seems to be more of a personal preference than a rule. What type of application you are submitting may play a large role in that decision also. The e-note is best when applying through email or through a social media contact. It also has many advantages, such as:
Attention grabbing subject lines – Something like “Jane Doe asked me to contact you.” The name drop will create a connection and help you stand out.
Short and Concise– In doing an e-note you are able to cut the length in half making it quick and easy to read. Odds of your note being read increase the more polished and direct the note is. Think about the usual length of an email.
Side note: Remember not to attach it to the e-mail; you will want the e-note to be the body of the e-mail.
Be Interactive- Be sure to include links to places online where the employer can find additional information about you. Using helps like a link to your LinkedIn profile will save them time and give them a direct path to your professional background. You could also guide them to your Twitter, Professional Blog, Online portfolio, etc.
With technology changing every day, so does the way we search for employment. We need to learn new skills and methods of making contact so that we are not left behind. When used correctly, the e-note certainly has an important place in applying for a position.
A traditional cover letter follows the format of the formal business letter. An E-note is a message typed in the body of an email sent with your resume attached and has no additional cover letter. E-notes differ also in that they are easier to skim—short and concise.
Keep in mind that E-notes are relatively new and follow emerging technology trends. They may not be most desirable format in every situation. Use your best judgement. The same Cover Letter will not work for every position applied for. You will need to be flexible and study up on the prospective job, advertisement, or reference before making a decision about which letter is most appropriate. Now that you have all the necessary information, you will be able to do just that!
Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
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Video: The Difference between Bragging and Leveling in Your Executive Job Search
Amy L. Adler describes how humble people level and braggarts brag. Learn how to use leveling in your job search.
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