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Job hunting: 10 mistakes to avoid when looking for work

Have you been sending out resumes like crazy, attending numerous job interviews, asking everyone you know to hook you up at their workplace but still have no luck in your job hunting? Well, at some point, you need to ask yourself if you are probably doing something wrong to turn off those prospective employers.

Remember, what worked for Peter may not work for Paul. This saying should be remembered when job hunting. Many people set out to seek employment in the marketplace with advice from others. Then, they try it for themselves. A lot of times, they get the message, “You don’t call us, we will call you!” leaving them hopeful but still unemployed for a long period. Here are 10 mistakes people make when job hunting and suggestions to help you make yourself more employable.

Job hunting mistakes to avoid

Mistake #1: Qualifications or experience are all you need

Thinking that you can get a job because you hold some kind of degree or more than three years of experience in the field under your belt is a bad idea. Being qualified for a position may get you an interview and probably on the short list after the interview, but that is only the beginning of your journey.

Be prepared to show the interviewer that you are far more than a person who passed some exams and worked in another company for a long time. Treat your qualifications or experience as the bonus points that you will be bringing to the table.

Mistake #2: Friendship or good looks will get you hired

If your friend Tom got hired because his cousin is a manager and your sister Mary got the job because she is strikingly attractive, that was their luck. Maybe, Tom and Mary got a foot in the door because of nepotism and good looks, but what if they actually got hired and kept the job because they deserved it? You should not depend on the people you know or the looks with which you were graced to get hired.

Tell yourself that your relationship with a person in a company or your appealing looks is just a plus. Bear in mind that hundreds of other applicants may also have relationships with management and may have exceptionally attractive appearances. Your personality should be your winning quality to which no one can measure.

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Mistake #3: Your clothes should say who you are

Young people today make the greatest mistake of “dressing the way young people dress” to attend a job interview. They are completely unaware that there is something called “business attire” which is the expected dress code at a business meeting.

When job hunting, forget about the trendy tight pants, jeans that show ankles, short sleeve patterned shirt, designer’s blouse with the extra low V neckline and the super fluorescent jacket. Wear styles and colours that are appropriate for a business setting.

Mistake #4: Your hairstyle, nails, make-up, jewellery and tattoos should be accepted

Get it out of your head that expressing your individuality should be accepted by everybody. Maybe in your own home and on the streets that belief may hold some value, but when job hunting, you are no longer in charge. You are asking someone else to make you responsible for the success of their business. An employer has the right to refuse your outrageous hairstyle, long nails or bite-up edges, overdone make-up, and exposed tattoos.

Once you start job hunting, if you are male, tell the barber to hold up on the zig-zags. If you are female, keep the hairstyle and make-up simple and modest. Keep your nails neat with neutral colours. Hide all tattoos using long sleeves, long pants and high necklines.

Mistake #5: A padded resume looks impressive

Some people believe that when job hunting, a resume that list every single job that you have done in your lifetime may impress an employer. While you may be tempted to show off all the places that you have worked, you are also making a prospective employer curious as to why you are unable to keep a job for long with so many companies. A padded resume simply looks like you are trying too hard because you believe you are not good enough for the job.

If you are job hunting for different positions at several companies, each resume you send out should be unique. Only list the past jobs that are relevant and will be rewarding. Align your past job experiences with the position that you are applying for and then narrow down the list of companies to potential referrals.

Mistake #6: It is impolite to ask questions in a job interview

Speak when you are spoken to is a polite habit to have as a child, but if you are job hunting, you are all grown up. A job interview is not only a meeting for an employer to see if you are the right person for the job. It is also an opportunity for you to see if the job is the right one for you. Remaining quiet in a job interview may set the precedence for the employer to call all the shots in the interview and after you have been hired whether you like it or not.

Prepare questions to ask in a job interview beforehand and let yourself be heard. Be ready to ask follow-up questions after you receive answers that you may find vague or unsatisfactory. This move will show the prospective employers upfront what you expect from them and help you to dodge a bullet if the job does not meet your expectations.

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Mistake #7: You have to take what you get from employers

Settling for whatever is offered to you in an interview only sets you up to start a disappointing job. Many people find themselves happily agreeing to terms and shaking hands in an interview. Then, within the first month of work, they complain about the load of responsibilities for little pay and no benefits. Soon after, they are job hunting once again in the market for something better.

Value your contribution to a company in the interview. Be prepared to turn down a job offer if it does not meet your worth. An employer may be ready to offer you exactly what you deserve after hearing your reason for refusing the job. The key is to be kind.

Mistake #8: More interviews mean the better you are at interviews

Many persons apply to several companies when job hunting to give themselves options. Then, they may find themselves waiting a long time for a call back from at least one. Attending numerous job interviews does not make you good at interviews. It simply means you did the same thing more than once.

Use each job interview as an opportunity to learn something. Pay attention to what you did after being refused a job. Do some research on what you should do in a job interview and make comparisons to what you did. The next job interview should be an improvement on your part to give you a better chance.

Mistake #9: A special handshake will do the trick

The topic of showing your confidence in the way you shake hands has been passed down for generations. According to Laura Acevedo on the importance of a handshake in the workplace, “A firm, strong handshake transmits your underlying confidence in yourself and your abilities. When individuals feel your confidence, it helps instill trust in your words and work abilities.” But is it really the only thing you’ve got to seal the deal?

Focus on carrying on intellectual conversations with job interviewers and not on an impressive handshake. Spend more time developing your knowledge and confidence by reading books and watching videos with great informational substance. An interviewer will know if you are the person for the job with that.

Mistake #10: Comparing companies make you look good

The worst thing to assume when job hunting is that the company to which you are applying would love to know that they are better than the last place you have worked. Nothing aggravates an employer more than when you make comparisons with another company. Even if your intentions are good, you show that you are capable of doing the same thing with them in the future.

Focus on showing an employer that you are the ideal person for the job. Tell the interviewer that you are always punctual, hardworking, a team player and determined to solve problems when you encounter them. These words will increase your chances of getting the job and actually doing so will make you keep it.

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