You know the friend who constantly dates the wrong kind of person? The one who's endlessly frustrated that he or she is going to die alone because all the good ones are taken?
After enough venting sessions, you realize something your friend doesn't: He or she is the common thread tying together all of these -- let's just say it together -- losers. Someone needs to speak up and say, "You're doing this to yourself."
You'll find this same pattern can be true in a job hunt. Granted, we're in tough times and plenty of reasons out of your control can keep you from getting hired. But that's just one more reason to do everything within your power to be the best job seeker you can.
With that in mind, look over these 25 ways you might be unknowingly sabotaging your job search:
1. Assuming you'll never need to look for another job
You love your current job and that's great. If you're happy there and see a promising future, I hope you never have to leave. Nevertheless, you should always be prepared for the day you have to move on. Even if the boss loves you, things can change. Buyouts, economic disasters or changes in leadership can affect your employment. Continue to your résumé while you're employed so that you have an accurate record of your accomplishments.
2. Burning bridges
We love the scenes in movies where the disgruntled employee finally tells off the boss and storms out of the office, only to live a happy, fulfilling life. In real life, these idols are probably unemployed because they don't have good references, and no employer wants to hire someone with a tarnished reputation.
3. Keeping mum on your job search
Most people aren't keen on being unemployed, and if you were laid off it's understandable that you don't want to spend all your time talking about it. But you need to network; it's one of the most effective ways to find a job. A friend of a friend of a friend often gets you the interview that lands you the job -- but that won't happen if no one knows you're looking for new career opportunities.
4. Looking for "The One"
Although you want to conduct a focused job search, you need to keep an open mind. With any luck, you'll land the perfect gig but sometimes you have to take a job that possesses most of the qualities you want -- not all of them. If the pay is right, the requirements are in line with your experience and the opportunities for promotion are good, then you might have to overlook the fact that you have to wake up 30 minutes earlier than you'd like.
5.Not searching at all
This mistake probably seems obvious, but as anyone who's been on a lengthy job hunt can tell you, discouragement is easy to come by. A few weeks or months without a job and enough news segments on layoffs are enough to convince you that no one is hiring. Without question the market's competitive, but if you're not actively looking for work, don't expect it to fall in your lap.
6. No cover letter
Including a cover letter is an easy way to play it safe during a job hunt. Although not every employer wants one, surveys continually find employers who automatically remove job seekers from consideration if they don't include a cover letter. Why would you give any employer a reason not to hire you?
7. A generic cover letter
The only thing worse than no cover letter is one that could be sent to any anonymous employer. Starting with "To Whom It May Concern" and filling the page with phrases like "hard working" will signal the reader that you're blindly sending out applications to every job opening you see. Hiring managers are looking for someone who fits their needs, and their needs are different than another employer's. Don't treat them the same.
If you received a wedding invitation full of misspelled words and poor punctuation, you'd probably wonder why these two people didn't take the time to proofread the page. After all, it's an important event and a lot of people will be reading it. Employers will wonder the same thing about a résumé or cover letter filled with errors.