Career experts are always telling you what to do. Dress this way on an interview. Write this kind of cover letter. Tailor your resume like this. Arnie Fertig, founder & CEO of Jobhuntercoach, takes a different approach in a new U.S. News & World Report post titled “Avoid These 5 Pitfalls of Job Hunting.” As the title suggests, it’s a list of what NOT to do while looking for work, and it’s full of terrific advice summarized below.
1. Taking Extended Breaks — If you’re fortunate enough to have some personal savings, you might not need to find a new job right away. And maybe summer is coming up, so you figure you’ll decamp to Europe for a couple of months. Long vacations are great, but Fertig cautions against them. By taking taking yourself out of the job-search game, you’ll miss out on networking and hiring opportunities that come along in your absence. Plus, down the line, you might have to explain the long employment gap in a job interview.
2. Focusing Your Efforts Online — As Fertig writes, applying for jobs online is just one way to get way to get hired. A “serious job search” requires you to “add other arrows to your job-hunting quiver,” and these include networking and informational interviews. Data suggests less than 10 percent of job offers stem solely from online applications. Most of the time, it’s about working personal connections, which brings us to…
3. Being Unspecific In Your Appeals for Help — When you reach out to your personal network, don’t simply say, “I’m an XYZ. Does anyone know if there’s a job out there for me?” As Fertig explains, most people who see your post on LinkedIn or wherever won’t know your skills and background well enough to offer much help. Be as specific as possible and tell people what type of role you’re seeking and what companies you’re interested in working for. Then ask if there are specific individuals you might speak with at those companies to help your cause.
4. Displaying Desperation — Just as some folks have the money to pause their job search and take long vacations, others need work right away, to keep food on the table. Telling folks how hard up for cash you are won’t help the cause, Fertig says. “More likely, people flee from desperate job seekers.”
5. Applying for Pie-In-the-Sky Gigs — The more you dislike your current job, the more you might dream of changing course entirely and landing that dream job you’ve always wanted. That’s all well and good, but as Fertig says, you’re most likely to find new opportunities in your field, and getting too “fanciful” and reaching for long shots could prove fruitless.