For many people, finding work when you’re unemployed can be incredibly difficult. Sometimes, it even becomes so difficult that unemployed job seekers give up all hope and quit the job search altogether.
If you recognize that feeling – if you’ve been on the hunt for a new job for a long time without any success – then it may be time to look inward. You may be sabotaging your own efforts without even realizing it.
Here are six things you might be doing to unknowingly damage your job prospects:
1. You’re Not Doing Much – If Any – Networking
Many companies do not advertise their vacant positions through newspapers or job boards. Instead, they simply share this information with their colleagues in the industry, hoping to land great talent through their referral networks.
It is important, then, for you to be networking like crazy when you’re unemployed. The more contacts you have, the better your chances will be of finding and landing a job. Online networking forums are a great place to start looking for jobs. Consider also extending your efforts to live networking events where professionals meet face to face.
2. You’re Hunting for a Job in Secret
The easiest way to get information about a vacancy at a company is through friends and family members who work for or are connected to these companies in one way or another. It is important to tell everyone you know about your job search. That way, people can inform you of any open jobs they come across. Furthermore, your friends and family members will be able to put in a good word for you should an opening arise at their place of work – and referrals are one of the best ways to get hired.
3. You Aren’t Taking Care of Yourself
You may be unemployed, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to skip showers or bum around in sweats all day. You never know when you might bump into a potential employers, so it’s important to look smart. A bad appearance will make a bad first impression on someone who could have otherwise been your ticket to a brand new job.
In addition, good grooming matters a lot when attending job interviews and is taken quite seriously by many companies. Don’t let your despair hurt your grooming habits.
4. You’re Not Keeping Your Skills Sharp
As the years go by, the job market changes. The longer you are out of work, the more likely it is that your skills will grow outdated. It is important, then, for you to make sure your skills stay sharp and up-to-date at all times.
If you need help staying in top shape for employment, consider going back to school or taking a few classes online. Volunteer work is also a great way to maintain your employability, as are unpaid internships.
In most cases, submitting applications with relevant and updated skills will increase your chances of being hired. On the other hand, if your skills remain unchanged for years, you may find yourself totally unemployable as is.
5. You’re Applying for Any and Every Open Job You Find
If every application you submit comes back rejected – or goes unanswered – then your application strategy probably needs a little tweaking.
First, make sure you are qualified for the positions to which you are applying. If your skills don’t actually match those needed, then you’re not going to get the job!
Don’t waste time applying to jobs you’re not totally qualified for. Instead, evaluate the details of each and every advertisement before you send in an application. Make sure you have the hard and soft skills necessary to do the job and fit in with the company culture. When you apply for the right jobs, you’ll be surprised at how many positive responses you receive.
6. You Don’t Prepare Yourself Properly for Interviews
If you always seem to struggle with interviews, that may be because you have not adequately prepared yourself ahead of time.
Before you step into an interview, you need to research the company deeply. Find out as much as possible about the organization. The more you know about the organization’s activities and how your role fits into the company’s overall goals, the better your chances will be of acing the interview.
Also, if you have an acquaintance working at the company, ask them to find out what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. Once you know this, you’ll be able to tailor your interview answers to the proper criteria.
All in all, staying clear of the above blunders will improve your chances of soon leaving the unemployment club and joining the lucky ranks of those who are working their dream jobs.