Stepping out into the job market in 2022? With talent shortages and a record number of workers quitting, there’s an unprecedented movement going on in the job market right now. It’s a great time to make a career move, but you also need to make sure you’re making the most of the opportunity. You can do that by not making these five job search mistakes.
Job Search Mistake #1: Casting Too Wide of a Net
Solution: Narrow down your focus.
When it comes to casting too wide of a net, this usually takes the shape of a job seeker who wants to use the same resume to apply to many different—and unrelated—positions. They end up creating a general resume that they use to then apply to ten different roles. The consequence is that they end up getting zero interviews because their resume isn’t focused on one specific role.
If you’re trying to use a resume broadly, you’re not going to have nearly the effectiveness or response rate you would see if you narrowed the focus on your resume to one or two related roles and applied with the targeted resume.
It may seem like you’re making more progress by applying to hundreds of roles with the one resume, but it’s really wasting your time and giving you a false sense of productivity. If you want to get more interviews, then your resume needs to be targeted to a specific position and you need to use it to apply to only those types of roles.
The content in your resume needs to support your candidacy for that specific position. The resume summary you write, the keywords you use, and the accomplishments you highlight all need to be related to that one role. That’s how you’ll get more interviews.
Job Search Mistake #2: Focusing Solely on Online Postings
Solution: Use a diverse set of job search strategies.
At least once a week I have a job seeker come to me for help who has applied to hundreds of online postings but has only received one or two interviews if any at all. They’re not getting any traction in their search and now they’re frustrated and borderline desperate.
I usually see this when a job seeker focuses all their efforts solely on applying to online job postings. They’re not using any other job search methods or strategies. The best way to resolve this issue is to immediately incorporate more effective job search strategies.
First, get active on LinkedIn. Start posting at least three times a week. Then, engage with others in your industry who are actively posting on LinkedIn. Invest 10-15 minutes a day engaging with your online network. It doesn’t seem like much, but when done consistently you’re exponentially increasing your visibility in your industry and with recruiters while also positioning yourself as a subject matter expert and building a healthy and robust network. It’s a triple win!
Second, create a target list of companies you want to work for. Start researching the companies, narrow down your list to your top ten, then make connections with employees, recruiters, and peers within those companies. You may already be connected to some people at your target companies. You can search the People tab on the company’s LinkedIn page to see who you are already connected to. Start there when looking to add new connections. Once you’ve made some connections, strike up conversations, engage with and support their posts, and after you apply to a posting at the company, message those connections and let them know that you’ve applied and why you’re interested.
Third, connect with as many recruiters as you can on LinkedIn. Recruiters are inundated with openings so connecting with them on LinkedIn means you’re more likely to see openings they post come across their feed. Even if it’s not a role you’re interested in, you might know the perfect person and could make a referral, helping out both your friend and the recruiter.
Reach out to decision-makers and hiring managers. Once you’ve engaged with a company and understand their culture, unique pain points, and problems, you can present your value and how you can solve the problems they face. Employers love to hire winners. Show them how you’ve won.
There are other job search methods you can employ too such as informational interviews, in-person networking, utilizing additional social media channels, asking for referrals, etc. The biggest thing to remember is that you need to take action, be consistent, and start diversifying your job search.
Job Search Mistake #3: Not Fully Leveraging LinkedIn
Solution: Start making the most of all LinkedIn has to offer you.
Did you know that you’re nearly three times more likely to get a job where you have connections on LinkedIn? There are currently 1.9 million HR professionals and recruiters actively using LinkedIn to find candidates. This means there’s a real possibility that your next employer could find you on LinkedIn.
Make new connections
Connections take time to foster, and to be sustainable they need to be win/win. In other words, asking for a job isn’t your first move.
Begin building up your network. You need connections on LinkedIn because you have to have some type of connection with someone to see their profile unless they are a premium member and have “Open connector” turned on.
The best way to get started is to jump in. Take action by importing your contacts and connecting with family, friends, classmates, and coworkers. This will give you baseline connections that will open up the doorway to many new connections.
When building your network, send a personalized note stating why you want to connect. When you connect with someone, all their 1st-degree connections become your 2nd-degree connections—which means now you can search/find more people. This is how you can connect with thought leaders, people in your industry, and people at companies that you want to work for.
Increase your visibility
In order for recruiters to find you, your profile has to be discoverable. In order for your profile to be discoverable to recruiters, it needs skills and must have a strong summary that includes the right keywords.
The skills section of your profile allows you to include up to 50 skills that you can be endorsed for by your connections. The endorsements show recruiters where your strengths lie, but the skills themselves help bolster your appearance in search results and also indicate your fit for a role when you apply to a position that’s posted on LinkedIn.
If you notice that the positions you’re applying to require many of the same skills and you possess those skills but they’re not listed on your profile, be sure you add them as soon as possible. If you don’t possess a required skill, you could opt to learn it by taking a LinkedIn Learning course that would then show completed on your profile. This shows the employer that you’ve taken the course and possess the knowledge. It also allows you to include the skills within your profile.
If you’re actively searching, using the “Open to Opportunities” feature can be of great benefit. When you turn the feature on, you can select job title, locations, whether you’re open to remote work, start date, job types, and also who sees you’re open to finding a new job.
The options for who sees you’re open to new jobs are recruiters only or everyone on LinkedIn. Selecting any member of LinkedIn adds the green “Open to Work” banner on your profile image, and also lets visitors know you’re open to new opportunities at the top of your profile page.
You may also want to consider signing up for LinkedIn Premium because you get the ability to direct message recruiters. You also receive more detailed applicant insights including if you’re a top applicant. As of this writing, you can try Premium free for one month. LinkedIn has a “career plan” that gives you access to these insights as well as interview preparation, salary insights, and LinkedIn Learning courses so you can earn or add skills in certain areas to your profile. That’s really handy if you’re missing some of the required skills for a role that you really want.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, again, the importance of consistent engagement when using LinkedIn. It’s not enough to sign in once a week and scroll through your feed. If you want to see results with LinkedIn you need to log in every day, post multiple times a week, and join the conversations happening on the platform. If you’re not sure where to start, look at the day’s news articles on the top right of the homepage when you log in. Start by reviewing the articles and commenting on the posts people have shared.
You can also scroll through your feed and comment on your connection’s posts. This can really catapult your visibility if you’re committed to doing it multiple times a week. It doesn’t take more than 15 minutes a day to engage, but it’s like adding rocket fuel to your job search efforts and rapidly expanding your network.
Job Search Mistake #4: Selling Yourself Short by Not Telling Your Story
Solution: Create public-facing career documents that market your value to potential employers.
In today’s hot job market, could you get interviews with an outdated or subpar resume? It’s possible. With the current talent shortage and the massive amount of hiring taking place, you would likely eventually hear from an employer.
But, will it be the right fit? Would it be the step up you wanted? The better culture fit, the higher income, the change you need? Would they see your true value and compensate you accordingly?
If you don’t show employers your value, they won’t see it.
This becomes a challenge for most job seekers who prefer to take the humble approach to their job search. We’re taught to be humble winners, not to tout our greatest successes. The problem is that if we don’t share the facts, employers won’t know what we’re capable of bringing to their organization.
The other drawback is that if they’re unaware of your value, they’re not going to compensate you well for it or offer you a role that aligns with the value you offer.
I’ve worked with countless job seekers who, once they had a resume that factually reflected their career story, found they were getting interviews and offers for positions that were one and two levels above their current position. We recently worked with an executive in the tech industry who used his new resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile to land a role three levels up with a 25% salary increase.
Another client of ours got an interview with her dream company, Mayo Clinic, within one week of using her new resume. You can read her case study here and how her new resume made the difference.
How you present yourself to employers matters— and not just when it comes to getting interviews.
How your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile present your career story will affect the level of roles you’re interviewed for and the salary you negotiate.
Make sure your resume reflects modern writing practices, and that it is results-rich and story-based for maximum impact.
The one thing you need most no matter how you plan to make the most of 2022’s job market is an up-to-date list of your recent wins.
Think about all of your recent contributions, accomplishments, and results. Make a running list of them. In fact, start a Google doc right now that you can keep adding to as your career grows. You’ll draw from this list when you approach your boss for a raise, interview for a promotion, switch industries, become an expert in your field, and expand your network. It’s an invaluable tool and I encourage you not to wait until you’re ready to job search to update your list. The impactful data that will make you look your best to potential employers is incredibly hard to remember 3, 5, and 10 years down the road.
Key information you need to gather when sitting down to write your resume includes:
– What projects/initiatives you are involved in
– The goals and results of your efforts
– Any quantifiable outcomes related to cost savings, revenue growth, client retention, etc.
– Performance improvements/promotions of employees tied to your coaching/mentorship
– Feedback on your own performance from employees, peers, or supervisors
– Any achievements or contributions that relate to the position you are interested in
A common mistake when it comes to resume writing is to try to include everything you have ever done. But including every responsibility, every technology, your full education history, and all skills and abilities you claim will quickly turn your resume into an unreadable, overwhelming document.
If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, your resume needs some revamping:
1.) Is there a lot of redundant information?
2.) Is the resume more than the standard two to three pages?
3.) Could the career summary be copied and pasted into someone else’s resume without many changes? (As in, could it apply to multiple people?)
4.) Are you listing skills rather than focusing on results?
5.) Are there relevant experiences or skills that are not conveyed on page one?
If you’re thinking it may be better to get a professional’s help with your career documents, you can schedule a strategy session here. We’ll discuss your goals for your next career move and how we can help you present your value to employers.
Job Search Mistake #5: Weak Personal Marketing
Solution: Make yourself more marketable.
Increase your networking consistency
Networking isn’t a job search activity. It’s a long-term career management activity. Cultivate new connections, strengthen current connections, and engage with people on a regular basis. This does not have to be a difficult or time-consuming endeavor. It can be as simple as connecting with three to five people in your industry on LinkedIn every week and spending 10-15 minutes commenting on posts, sharing updates, and sending messages three to four days per week.
Just remember relationships need to be mutually beneficial and they take time to grow. You can’t make a big ask the first time you speak to someone and expect them to help you. Instead, you grow your relationships over time by helping, supporting, and encouraging others and when the time comes, your network will be there for you, too.
Become an expert
If you want to be more marketable, you need to become an expert in your field. That doesn’t mean you need to know everything about your industry. It means that you need to specialize. Narrow your focus and pick one specific topic of interest. Then gather all the knowledge and information you can about that one area.
For example, a hairstylist might specialize in bridal hairstyles, extensions, or ombre highlights. They become the go-to expert for that one specific area.
What’s an area of focus in your industry that you’re particularly passionate about or interested in? Research that area, gain as much knowledge as you can, test out some theories and ideas, then share what you’ve discovered with others. It’s the sharing your knowledge that really sets you up as an expert. LinkedIn is a great platform to share industry expertise and start conversations. You can also engage in industry conversations happening all over LinkedIn. Share your knowledge and expertise. People will see your comments and your posts and follow you.
A few more strategies for stronger personal marketing
Showcase in-demand soft skills on your resume (curiosity, commitment, resilience, and innovation are highly desired by employers right now).
Try the new Skills Path feature on LinkedIn. You can take a skills assessment offered by recruiters who are actively hiring for a specific role. Once the assessment is complete, the recruiter personally reaches out to you.
Be thankful! Take time to reach out to those who’ve helped you this past year in your career—whether that’s a mentor, a colleague, or an industry leader whose content you love to read. Send a specific and personal note letting them know what you appreciate. Then continue the conversation (How can I support you?).
Find the right people. You can do a LinkedIn search for your target job title plus the word “hiring.” Then you can filter your search by content/posts and your favorite companies. Look for anyone that you have a mutual connection with or common ground, and then reach out. (Thank you, Austin, for teaching us all this search trick).
Advocate for yourself. Other people aren’t tracking your successes. The biggest factor affecting your next career move, the position you get, and the salary you earn will be capturing and sharing who you are and what you do. You have to overcome this challenge if you want to advance in your career. You must successfully and proudly market your career and experience.
Lastly, b𝐞 𝐯𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐠𝐨𝐚𝐥𝐬. Are you interested in moving up? Say so. Let your network in on your long-term career plans. Plan ahead by connecting with others in your target position, hiring for your target position, working for your target company, or hiring for your target company. Find a mentor—someone who is already there—and ask for advice on how you can get there, too.
Thanks for reading! Want more job search and resume tips? Check out these 6 free resources on my website that have helped more than 25,000 job seekers land their next job.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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