The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Maybe you have been out of work for some time. Maybe you have been looking. Maybe you have gotten several job interviews, but nothing that has really stuck and you end up not getting the job. If this is the case, you may want to figure out what you are doing wrong. There are some things that that companies look for in you when you are looking for work.
Make sure your resume has more than just the last 5 years on it. You are old enough to have accumulated some work experience. Do not be afraid to show it, even if you worked at a fast food restaurant or a gas station for a period of time. You should still display that you were working somewhere and doing something. You can probably knock off any job you have had in high school and focus on any jobs you have had while out of high school. But you are not fooling anyone about your age if you are trying to hide it through your resume. Put appropriate information about former companies down on your resume, but leave off excessive information.
Be prepared. Make sure that you always dress your best in an interview. Have gum on you for your breath and deodorant or cologne to make you smell good. Nothing will end an interview quicker than bad hygiene. Also ensure that your cologne is a business casual smell. You are not looking to pick up your interviewer and take them out for a date. If you have trouble understanding what you should smell like, inform the cologne retailers that you want to smell nice for your job interview. They will help you pick something out that gives you a “professional smell”. Bring a friend, your spouse, or partner with you. Even better – if you have a witty intelligent child not yet in their teens, they are the most truthful when it comes to smell, and if you stink, there is no better person to tell you what smells good and what doesn’t.
Email is wonderful. Internet is wonderful. Websites are wonderful. LinkedIn is wonderful. It allows for you to do everything without ever talking to anyone or even meeting anyone. Unfortunately, the real world works with real life interactions and you should be able to communicate with someone face to face. You should also have the complete confidence to pick up your phone and call whoever you need to call when it comes to making connections and getting a potential job.
While in your interview, make sure you have done your research on your job position and the company itself. You should know what the company does, what they market, and what you are being hired to do. If you do not know, you may ask questions. While you may be on the interview, you should also be interviewing the potential company. After all, this may be the company that provides you with your career. Asking questions shows you are interested in the company, but don’t ask too many questions or unnecessary questions. Too many questions to a potential employer could be a turn off.
Finally, try to make sure you are up to date with all the latest trends of technology and your job position. If you have been out of work for a while and have not performed the tasks associated with your potential job position, try to get a basic understanding of what is required of your job position and what you will need to know. Whatever it is you do not know, the company will likely train you.
This infographic covers the top 5 job search mistakes that people often make when searching for a job.
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The Top 5 Job Search Mistakes
1. Not having a business card.
Not having a business card shows you are unprepared and not taking the job search seriously — which becomes evident to others. Further, cards with too little information are almost worse, again signaling you are not thorough. List your areas of expertise on the card.
2. Leaving off 15 years of work experience on your resume to appear much younger.
You can leave off your first job if it was 25 – 30 years ago. However, eventually a company will know your age, so you are not fooling anyone. Instead, explain why and how your years of experience are valuable to your employer.
3. Not using your phone to make connections.
Although many connections can be made via email, using the phone is much faster. Plus, you are able to communicate passion and excitement using your voice which is not apparent in an email. Connections are often made faster using the phone.
4. Not asking enough questions in an interview.
During an interview it is your job to find out as much information as you can about your potential boss and company. You need to determine if you are a good fit. Cut down lengthy answers to questions and instead do more listening. Plus, asking insightful questions is a great way to demonstrate your knowledge better than attempting to explain it.
5. Focusing on your desire to go back in time.
This is one of the biggest blockers to landing your next job. Job requirements and tasks are changing rapidly. You can’t go back — even to the same type of company, because companies are rapidly changing. If you keep looking back, you miss out on the potential opportunities that are coming toward you.
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Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.