1. Being Negative – Number 1 is not having a positive, upbeat and enthusiastic attitude. Evict any thoughts that are excuses, self-defeating, limiting, or roadblocks. Forget about what’s not working. Focus on what IS working for you. Put out positive energy. Key to your success is staying mentally and physically fit with a good diet, exercise, sound sleep and a dose of fun.
2. Insufficient Reflecting – STOP and really think about where you are, where you want to be and how you will get there, and who will help you. Avoid “Career of the Week Syndrome” by controlling the impulse to jump from one appealing thing to the next.
3. Procrastinating – Failing to focus leads to indecisiveness. Neglecting the daily details will simply prolong your search. Vow to start with two tasks daily, then increase the number of tasks each day. Don’t let your day be reactive – be proactive. Just do one thing each morning and one thing in the afternoon. Whatever you resist persists! Stay disciplined with your daily routine.
4. Inadequate Self-Assessment and Career Exploration – Taking a strategic inventory of your strengths, skills, values, interests, and personality traits is essential for success. If you are feeling directionless, I urge you to get help; otherwise your search will become fragmented. If you don’t know the job targets, you can’t hit them. Narrow them down to ideal, back-up and safety jobs.
5. Failing to Commit – Finding a job is a full-time job and your highest priority. Get serious about it, and give it your hardest effort and make the sacrifices. Ask yourself, “How many hours am I putting into my search each week?” No sacrifices = No changes.
6. Lack of Researching Job Prospects – For each prospect, identify the job duties, mission, size, structure, leadership team, market position, financials, competitors, future growth, salary range, current events, and challenges and opportunities. Do your homework.
7. Being Disorganized – Don’t lose your focus. Don’t get distracted. Keep careful records of resumes, cover letters, networking progress, employers, and your written action plan. Map out each week ahead of time with your plan of attack. Don’t be unprepared
8. Weak Resume and Cover Letter – Get help with an objective critique of these essential documents. Take the time to tailor them.
9. Going It Alone – Huge mistake! Swallow your pride. Solicit the emotional encouragement of really good family and friends and your Dream Team during this transition time. Your inner circle will rally to your support. Share with them your specific goals. Ask them to keep you accountable to prevent slacking off. If you can’t do it by yourself, hire a professional that will help you.
10. Too Little Time Networking – Get out of the house every day! Getting things done around the house is NOT a revenue producing activity. Do those things on the weekend NOT during the day. You should be out having coffee with two people every weekday without excuses. Hesitating to call people you know only prolongs your search. Most people know at least 200 people so your job is to tap into other people’s networks. Don’t ignore any referrals or leads. Make sure you stay persistent.
11. Too Much Time on the Internet – If you are mostly using the Internet in your search you are in for a huge disappointment. It is one of the least effective techniques. Set specific limits on how much time you will spend online and then get out of the house.
12. Neglecting Other Job Search Techniques – The more methods you use, the faster you will get results. Spend 80% of your time networking, and 20% using: direct contact with employers, career centers, classifieds, temporary employment, volunteering, professional associations, the Internet, career fairs, and job search clubs/hosting a career party.
13. Not Enough Phone Time – It is your responsibility to follow-up with employer, networking contacts, references, and the Dream Team. If you set a goal of meeting 10 people every week, the only way you can do this is by picking up the phone. Just do it!
14. Unprepared for the Interview – Research and know yourself, the career field, the employer and the particular job. Get a list of interview questions and have someone objective to perform a video mock interview. Practice, practice, practice! Dress to impress!
15. Inability to Sell – This a truly a marketing campaign. Your resume and cover letter are your sales brochures and you are the product you are trying to get an employer to buy. The price they pay is your salary. Be absolutely persuasive and toot your horn.
16. Neglecting to Send Thank You Letters – Send letters or notes to your interviewers, networking contacts and anyone that has helped you. It shows that you care and took the extra time to express your interest. They can make a difference.
17. Failure to Evaluate Job Offers – Before you make this important decision, contact your career counselor to carefully evaluate the mix of strengths and weaknesses of any offer. Thoughtfully weigh such factors as the job content, your supervisor, training, advancement prestige, salary, location, corporate culture, and salary and benefits. Don’t make your choice solely based on money.