February 28, 2018

6 Job Search Snares to Avoid in 2018


One of the most valuable lessons I learned as a child was learned through the Road Runner cartoons.

Thanks to overthinking and a shallow approach, Wile E. Coyote always failed to capture Road Runner.

But Coyote kept on trying. He continued to fail. I and millions of kids and adults alike were glued to the series. We just couldn’t stop watching Coyote’s incredible drive, persistence, and resilience.

So what was the lesson I learned from Coyote’s failures? Persistence and resilience matter, but only if you vary your strategies.

We have all used failing job search strategies. These strategies waste our precious time and deliver no results. Yet many of us continue using them, just like Coyote. We hope the next time we press “send,” the magic will happen!

This year, it’s time to ditch the shallow tactics and put your persistence to work with better strategies. Here are six self-snaring job search tactics to avoid:

1. Not Preparing for the Video Interview

Many companies now use video as part of their interview processes, and it’s critical you take video interviews as seriously as in-person conversations. Dress the part, make eye contact, and make sure you’re heard.

Consider upgrading your technology if your webcam isn’t up to date. You should also test to see if your smartphone camera is the better option. You may be surprised at how good your phone is!

2. Failing to Research Companies in Depth

Successful job seekers connect with employees in their target companies. Although this is not an easy task, it is doable.

A single point of contact in the company may not know everything you need to know, so try reaching out to several employees to get a full view of the company’s culture, management, and company values. It’s not enough to familiarize yourself with products and services. Conversations with several people within the company/department/team are where the magic happens.

3. Not Negotiating

Most people don’t negotiate their compensation because they lack strategies. Much of what is said about negotiation focuses on money, which creates fear. There will be times when extra PTO or flexible work are more valuable to you than money. Create a purposeful  strategy and focus on things that really matter to you. Doing so will create the confidence you need to negotiate successfully.

4. Giving Up and Settling for Less

I remember times when I took jobs as bridge opportunities while looking for something else. My problem was always that I didn’t know what the next step would be. Then, months later, I would realize I was settling.

There are times when you need to take stepping-stone jobs like this, but remember: This new gig is your second job. Your primary job is to progress in your desired career path.

5. Underestimating Your Competition

As in sports, in the job search you must know how people are beating you. Understanding your uniqueness helps you stand out and is essential. Not knowing how others are nailing jobs is falling a step behind. You must be agile enough to adapt your presentation in person and online to be as savvy as your competitors.

6. Not Communicating Adequately

Susan Rooks, a.k.a. the Grammar Goddess, says most people have not had a grammar and usage class since leaving high school. She agrees that all communication requires clarity and concision. No one, including employers, wants to have to guess what you mean.

Rooks says, “Clarity is usually based on using correct punctuation, shorter sentences, and regular, easy-to-understand words. Otherwise, clarity may go out the window.”

This year, pay attention to what successful job candidates are doing. Understand where your strengths help you compete. Leverage your best strengths and deliver the results employers want to see. Don’t get trapped in your own snare.

Mark Anthony Dyson is a career consultant, the host and producer of “The Voice of Job Seekers” podcast, and the founder of the blog by the same name.

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Mark Anthony Dyson is a career consultant, the host and producer of “The Voice of Job Seekers" podcast, and founder of the blog by the same name. Download the podcast on iTunes and many other podcatchers. We are helping the unemployed, underemployed, and underappreciated job seekers find and create a voice through this platform. Follow Mark on: @MarkADyson