Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. Often, we do things without even knowing what the ramifications will be. Whether it is a lack of awareness or a lack of understanding, these are common mistakes I have seen clients make and, in some cases, I am pretty confident they cost them a job offer. Now I know that each and every one of you out there may be thinking to yourself, “I would never do that.” But, if that held true across the board, I would see no need to write about it. But I do, which means these are gaffes I have seen more than one client make on more than one occasion. Please do not let this be you.
When looking for a job, as my mother used to say, “You better be on your best behavior.”
- Don’t Be Late. Vice Lombardi is famously quoted as saying, “If you are five minutes early, you are already ten minutes late.” His point was that, if the meeting starts at 10:00, understand that it takes time for everyone to get into the room, find a seat, say their pleasantries and then get on with the meeting. If that process starts any later than 9:55, the meeting will ultimately start late while everyone is still getting situated. For an interview, five minutes early is the minimum. First of all, the person conducting the interview might want to start earlier due to other commitments. If so, they will appreciate you arriving early so they can start and end early. Getting there early sends a message that you are punctual and will continue to be when they hire you.
- Fill out All Forms Completely. You might be surprised at how many adults have a hard time following direction. When filling out paperwork, it may not be obvious to you why certain information is requested. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t needed. An employer might be asking you to fill something out to see if you can follow directions and learn how detail-oriented you are. A job that requires great attention to detail will not be performed well by someone who lacks it.
- Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself. Worrying about whether you will need to relocate? Wondering how much the company contributes to the 401K? Considering the expense reimbursement policy? Curious about how many days a month you can work from home versus going into the office? Let these and any other concerns come to the surface and you most likely will not have to worry about an offer coming your way. These are all self-serving and inconsequential until an offer is made.
- Don’t Apply to Multiple Jobs at One Company at the Same Time. Oftentimes, there are multiple job openings within the same department. Employers are looking to hire that one best person for a job. Having your resume in the mix for multiple jobs sends the message that you are a “jack of all trades” and master of none. This is the time to get laser-focused and realistic about what you do best. To that end, take the job description and strike through every responsibility and qualification you lack. This will help you to determine how much or how little of the job you are qualified for.
- Don’t Put “Looking for the Next Opportunity” or “In Transition” on Your LinkedIn Page. According to published accounts, it is roughly 30% easier to find a job when you are employed versus unemployed. Rather than advertising to the word that you are out of work, use the available space to tell the world what you are good at and how you help them solve a problem. They will figure out the rest.
While going through the interview process, you want to put your best foot forward. Avoid these five blunders and your job search won’t get tripped up.
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