There are many ways to give yourself the best odds when
you’re looking for a job — and just as many ways to ruin
them. Here are five common mistakes that people make
that keep them from getting the job of their dreams.
Apply Without a Plan
If you don’t have a job now, you might feel like applying
to every possible job can help maximize your chances of
finding something that can work for you. In fact, this
doesn’t help at all and can distract you from going hard
after the jobs you really have a chance with. “People who
say ‘I need to consider anything and everything’ are really
doing themselves a disservice,” says Lisa Arnold, director of
recruiting at Versique in Minneapolis. “A person who is
general in looking for a job or in talking about what you
have done is really going to be left behind in this market.”
Instead, identify the job you really want and what you
need to do to get it.
Ignore Your Online Presence
A strong, professional online presence can be a big plus
when you’re looking for a job. “I see a lot more [hiring]
clients really using those tools to do more due diligence on
a candidate,” Arnold says. “One of the first thing clients
ask is, ‘How many connections do you have on LinkedIn?’
That’s starting to matter.” Sharing information through
your social networks about issues in your field can show
hiring managers that you are plugged-in and keeping up
with changes in your industry. “It will display your brand,”
Arnold says.

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Make a Laundry-List Resume
Many people put together resumes that are simply a
travelogue of where they’ve been over their working
years. This step-by-step plodding through your jobs is
neither compelling nor useful to people making hiring
decisions. Instead of highlighting the position and dates
you worked at, talk about skills you gained, problems you
solved, and any recognition or promotions you got because
of them. Make your resume less about descriptions and
more about actions. “You have to have a really clear
message,” Arnold says.
Don’t Research the Company
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised
at how often it happens. Take the time to research the
company you’re applying at — its core mission, its
strengths and its challenges. Has it been in the news
lately? Why? If it hasn’t, why not? Whether you know
anything about the business will come through in your
cover letter and interview, so do your homework and find
out what you can.
Underestimate Your Value
Once you’ve identified the job you want, spiffed up your
resume and online presence, and done your homework on
the company, don’t settle for less than you deserve. Find
out what similar positions pay and your opportunities for
advancement. “Go out there and know what your value is
in the market and don’t deviate from that,” Arnold says.
Too many times, she says, people tend to settle for
something less. That affects the entire profession,
lowering the value for the skill set.

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