A successful job search is never easy. It requires planning and hard work. Too often, people who are having trouble finding a new job blame the employer or the economy when they should be looking in the mirror. Finding a job means that you have to look actively – and work hard.
Here are some traps to avoid:
1. Posting your resume and waiting to be called by an employer: Once upon a time, job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder promoted the ability to post as an easy way to find a job. It was never as easy as the commercials made it seem. Now it is even harder. If you decide to post a resume, that’s fine. But you must keep looking for a new job. Don’t count on an employer finding you.
2. Sending out a few resumes and waiting by the phone: Send resumes to every job that you are qualified for. Like many other kinds of sales campaigns, finding a job is a numbers game. The more active you are, the more likely you will be successful. Let me offer one word of caution: Be sure you are applying to jobs you are qualified for. Job seekers are often frustrated because they send out dozens, even a few hundred resumes. Those resumes will only work if you demonstrate how you are qualified for the posted job.
3. Networking without following up: It is important to follow up with you network contacts. Ask if they have any new ideas or people you should contact. How often should you follow up? It depends on how well you know the connection. A former co-worker or friend can be contacted every 2-3 weeks. For a more distant contact, 6-8 week might be more reasonable.
4. Joining a job club and waiting for a good referral: Job clubs are a great way to network and meet others who are also looking for work. You will get ideas and strategies from people who are facing the same situation you are. However, some people join job clubs and stop doing everything else. A good job search will balance all ways of looking for work.
Some experts say looking for a job should be a full time job. I disagree. Most people cannot stay focused for 40 hours per week and not lose momentum in their job search. If 20-25 hours per week is devoted to looking for work – using several different strategies – most job seekers will be called for interviews and, eventually, land a new job.
The most important thing to do if you want to succeed in your job search is to stay active. Waiting is always a bad strategy. Find new ways to look for work, new people to network with, and new companies to approach. The ideal job won’t find you. It is your job to find it.