September 8, 2011

Bust Your Job Seeking Bad Habits

Job Seeking Bad HabitsIf you’ve been unemployed for several months, you know how easy it is to settle into an unproductive job seeking routine. The days just seem to blend together – between firing off batches of halfhearted emails and chasing after yet another fruitless lead, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals and stop pushing yourself to succeed.

Every job seeker gets stuck in a rut once in a while. The trick is to snap out of it and break the job seeking bad habits holding you down. Here are five of the most common bad habits that job seekers find themselves sucked into during a prolonged job search.

  1. You’ve lost sight of your career goals: While it’s a good idea to widen your horizons and apply for positions outside your immediate field of expertise, if you find yourself applying to anything and everything you see, chances are you’ve lost sight of your career goals. Throwing your resume against the wall and hoping something sticks is not a job seeking strategy – it is an exercise in futility. Tighten up your resume for specific positions and only apply to jobs you’re interested in (and capable of performing). Otherwise you’re just wasting your time.
  2. You’ve embraced casual job seeking: You applied for a few jobs today, made a phone call or two…sure, seems like a busy day – if you’re lying to yourself. Get a grip on your situation and snap out of your employment apathy. The lazy job seeker is the perpetual job seeker. You’ll never find work if you can’t commit to a full day of applications, resumes, interviews, followups, etc. Looking for work is a full time job – don’t lounge around in limbo or else you’ll find yourself stuck there.
  3. You use the same tricks everyday: Relying on the same old resources and the usual tired tactics hasn’t worked for you yet – why would they tomorrow? Step outside your comfort zone and get in touch with a recruiter, join a new social network, try something different. Take risks – call up the company you’ve been avoiding because you were afraid of rejection. If you let fear and uncertainty rule your life, you’ll never get out from under your own bad habits.
  4. You’ve stopped following up: As you apply to more and more jobs, it’s hard to keep organized and remember which jobs you’ve applied to. You apply through a career site for one job, fire off a LinkedIn inmail to a hiring manager at another company, etc… It’s easy to forget to follow up. Keep a spreadsheet where you document everything you do on your job search, and be sure to follow up with notes after you apply to a job or send someone an email.
  5. You’re no longer positive: The 5th and perhaps easiest bad habit to fall into is negativity. When you write emails to hiring managers and recruiters or change up your cover letters and resumes, negativity comes through clear as day. It’s very easy and understandable to become pessimistic about your job search, but you have to remember to remain upbeat and positive about your worth as a job seeker and about your past accomplishments.

Keeping an organized, positive, and rigorous approach to job seeking is certainly easier to write about than to practice. However, job seekers are particularly vulnerable to falling into bad habits because unemployment is a very difficult time personally – so you have to stay vigilant and attentive. If you are unemployed, we hope this article helps a bit – good luck in your job search!

Read more in Job Search Advice

Marie is a writer for covering career advice, recruitment topics, and HR issues. She has an educational background in languages and literature as well as corporate experience in Human Resources.