Five job search time wasters

Are you losing focus in your job search? Finding the days disappearing into an online haze? Here are some common time wasters you should avoid:

1. Applying for every job, no matter how far fetched. It’s so easy now to apply online for jobs that you may be tempted to apply for positions that are likely not really of interest to you. What do you have to lose? Well beyond your own time, you’re wasting the company’s time as well. Focus your job search, thoroughly read job descriptions, research the hiring company and apply for those jobs that seem to be a good fit. Avoiding the shotgun approach gives you more time to spend applying for positions that most closely meet your job search goals.

2. Continually recreating your resume. We’re told to tailor our resume based on the position we’re applying for, but don’t get carried away and think you have to rewrite your entire resume. Create several base resumes — maybe two to five depending on your career goals — and then modify one of these resumes slightly with appropriate keywords and focus as necessary for each new position. If you need to redo much of your resume to apply for a position, does that position really fit your career goals?

3. Ditto above for cover letters. Cover letters are similar to resumes in that you should have a couple base documents that you can revise as necessary. You should not be writing a cover letter from scratch for each position you apply for.

4. Mindless networking. When you’re networking make sure you let people know you’re looking for a job and a little bit about your job search goals. Use a very brief elevator speech and ask questions about their experience so you can help them determine how they may be able to help you. Don’t be lazy and put the onus on others by saying, “I’m looking for ______, know of any openings?”.

5. Putting all your eggs in one basket. You think you’re a shoe-in for a position you desperately want. While you’re waiting days or weeks to hear from the employer, you essentially put your job search on hold waiting for the offer. Don’t fall into this trap and keep your job search moving forward until you accept an offer.

Are there any ways you wasted time in a job search that you can share?

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Stephen Peteritas

Wow I think this is the first post looking back on previous job searches that I actually did all the rules correctly. I couldn’t agree more with them but even though I’m not currently looking I’m pumped that I’m not wasting time when I am.

If I had anything to add it would surfing around on the wrong job boards. Just because you see a Monster commercial doesn’t mean the site with worth a hoot.

Kathleen Smith

Stephen, thanks for checking out the post. We are actually doing a new series of posts that will address how to work within a job board to support a job search. There are some interesting tidbits that many job seekers do not know about posting or searching within a job board, that are simple and yet crucial items to understand. We are revamping out entire site to actually speak to the fact that many job seekers don’t understand how to best used a job board to support their job search.

And, using a job board is just one facet of a job search, not the entire ball of wax which many people think!

Larry Slobodzian

Fantastic list! I think the best advice I received that is not on this list is to take a break. Job hunting is a full-time job, but you will find yourself more effective if you keep the hunt in balance with your personal life. Spending hours on applications, cover letters, resumes, and interviews is far more stressful than most jobs. You will have less errors and more energy if schedule your time wisely and regularly take time to relax, exercise, and play.

Heather Krasna, MS

I think the number one time waster is sitting in front of a computer. Get away from the computer and pick up the telephone, get out of the house and go to a networking event or professional conference, go to a job fair, go to a job search workshop or support club. But don’t just sit in front of a computer researching jobs or employers or even purely applying to jobs. Apply to some jobs, and reach out to some folks on Linkedin, and then pick up the phone to say you are interested in a meeting–in person.

Kathleen Smith

Thanks for the comments! Larry great advice that taking a break and keeping things in balance will help your job search. And Heather we couldn’t agree more — even in this day and age a job seeker needs to meet and talk to folks live and in person!