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Avoid Job Search Fail and Increase Your Odds of Success


There are times in my profession that I meet people who are literally standing in their own way of achieving job search success. I’ll offer an honest recommendation, and maybe even advise them NOT to purchase resume writing services until they have clarity on more important issues. Here are some of the biggest challenges that keep job seekers from reaching their goal.

You Have No Clear Goals

The best thing you can do BEFORE you start a job search is to decide on the type of job you want. This is important for several reasons:

You’ll need to know what the job requires in order to effectively establish your “brand” and position your skills and experience accordingly. If you’re resume doesn’t clearly communicate your objective, you risk being passed over.

Your resume should also include specific keywords to successfully pass an initial screen through company ATS systems.

You Have No Plan

In today’s competitive job market, you need  a plan to help you reach your goals – whether your plans are to find a new job, secure a promotion, re-enter the work force, transition into a new profession/industry, etc. Once you have a plan in place, you have to also work it consistently. Some elements of a successful job search plan include:

Designating time each day for the search. You’ve heard the saying, “looking for a job is a full-time job.” Well, it’s true. A lot of time is spent completing applications and submitting your resume through job boards, following up with your contacts list, and networking online and at in-person events. You have to commit to spending time each day on one or more of these activities to see results.

It’s also a good idea to diversify your job hunting methods. Apply a mix of different strategies to include:

  • Job boards
  • Social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) and forums
  • Networking (in person and online)
  • 3rd party recruiters and search firms

You Procrastinate

The only thing doing nothing will get you is more of nothing. People put off taking action and doing what needs to get done for many reasons. In fact, you can be so good at procrastinating that you don’t even realize you’re doing it! For example, if you spend weeks creating a resume, and then “tweaking” it for the next month, you’re procrastinating.

If you prefer to write your own resume, keep it simple and list each job in reverse chronological order. Next, list your key responsibilities, contributions , and achievements.  Don’t forget to include your education and any relevant training. Focus on providing the information that PROVES you are qualified for the job and start applying. You can always make updates throughout the job search as necessary.

You’re Relying Too Much on Others

I think it’s great to have family, friends, colleagues, and mentors so invested in seeing you achieve your career goals. Just keep in mind that in the end, recruiters and employers will be evaluating you and you alone. Even the career professionals you hire – resume writers, career coaches, recruiters, and search firms – can only do so much. Before you spend a dime, make sure that you understand what these professionals realistically CAN and CANNOT do to help you achieve your job search goals. Sure they want to see you reach your goal because the results make them look good too. But no one is more invested than you; so the burden of responsibility is on you.

Image  credit: iStock

Kimberly Ben is a multi-credentialed Professional Resume and LinkedIn Writer and Job Search Coach. She has written hundreds of resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and other career communications for multiple career industries and professions. Kimberly’s extensive education, training, and experience have resulted in a clear understanding of current hiring best practices and the most effective job search techniques, branding strategies, and insight on what it takes to gain the competitive edge and impress employers in a challenging job market.

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