How to Sabotage Your Job Search

Heather Krasna is the author of Jobs That Matter: Find a Stable, Fulfilling Career in Public Service, and the Director of Career Services at the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington.

There’s a lot of advice out there about things people do to have a successful job search, but are you doing something to sabotage your own search? Here are some ways people sabotage their job searches:

* Not being focused. Many people want a job– any job– and don’t think through what their skills are, applying for jobs they aren’t qualified
for, or spreading themselves too thin by searching for jobs in too many
places. Choose a job function, level, type of employer, and geographic
region to help your job search take off.

* Being reversed in focus. Some people know they really want a certain kind of job, but don’t think through the employer’s needs. Just because
you are enthusiastic about a job is not enough. Carefully consider
whether you actually meet the job requirements, and look at your resume
and cover letter from the employer’s point of view.

* Not following up. Many people shoot off job applications, but never call to follow up with recruiters. While it’s sometimes impossible to follow
up due to a “no calls” statement on a job posting, usually you can find
out who the hiring manager is and call to express your enthusiasm and
ask a question or two. This makes an applicant really stand out.

* Not following application instructions. Some employers have a more complex process than just emailing a resume and cover letter. If you don’t read
and follow the instructions, your application will often go in the
trash, no matter how good it otherwise is.

* Not asking for help. Job search is a very self-motivated, and often discouraging, activity. Reaching out to friends or colleagues who are
job seeking to agree on goals for each of you to meet is a powerful way
of getting your search in motion. Those who try to do it all alone
sometimes succeed, but those who reach out to their friends and
networks for help have much more success. Don’t forget to connect with people on sites like Govloop and Linkedin.com to help your search!

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