Some of the most common mistakes in a job search can be fixed with a little elbow grease and initiative, experts say — mistakes like neglecting to network and looking only at posted jobs instead of focusing on employers. Some job-search don’ts and ways to make your effort more productive:
Don’t: Search exclusively for open positions.
Do: “Spend time learning about organizations where you’d like to work,” says Miriam Salpeter, career coach at Keppie Careers in Atlanta. Put together a list of 10 or 15 companies and reach out to their supervisors and hiring managers.
Don’t: Send the same résumé to every employer.
Do: “Evaluate job descriptions before writing your résumé,” Salpeter says. “Capture the key details from descriptions and choose the key words from them to include on your résumé.”
Don’t: Be afraid to follow up.
Do: “Always follow up with a thank-you note even if you didn’t get the position,” says Jane Trnka, career coach and executive director of Rollins College MBA Career Development Center in Winter Park, Fla. “If it’s somewhere you really want to work, follow up every six months and let them know where you landed and your new contact information.”
Don’t: Get discouraged if you’re not hired right away.
Do: “Find an accountability partner or join a job search support group,” says career coach Phyllis Mufson in Sarasota, Fla. “These are great choices when you need a boost of encouragement, brainstorming and someone to witness your commitment to action.”
Don’t: Think you’re too old to learn new tricks.
Do: Take some classes. Trnka says this can enhance your skills or teach you new ones, provide a great chance to network “and also demonstrate to potential employers you are not sitting behind the computer all day and night,” she says.