You've started a job search. You are excited about the prospects of finding the perfect job. Of course you have a concern about how long the job search will take but you want to make sure your job search is effective. Here are some mistakes you'll want to avoid.
1. No strategy - Someone told you to get your resume updated and that is where you begin your job search. You have no strategy for using it. You have no career plan and you haven't thought about your strengths and goals. Your updated resume is for the job you just left not for the job that will help you to move in the direction you want to go.
2. Using one generic resume - Using the same resume for each job may be the easiest approach but it doesn't show the hiring manager why you are perfect for the job he or she is hiring for. To do that you must match your accomplishments to the requirements of the job.
3. Not using the top part of your resume to grab the attention of the reader - The top third of your resume is the most important part. It is the part of the resume hiring managers will read first. They will continue reading if they are convinced you can do the job. Your resume should use the key words from the job description and highlight the skills that you have that are necessary for the job.
4. No cover letter - The cover letter must sell the resume. If you want the hiring manager to read the resume, include a cover letter. In it highlight the information in the resume that makes you a perfect match for the job. It is a chance to sell yourself. Sure there are some hiring managers that do not read the cover letter but you have no way of knowing if this one will or will not read it so take this opportunity to write a persuasive cover letter.
5. Not proof reading everything you send to the prospective employer - Your resume, cover letter and other correspondence are examples of the quality of your work. Make them perfect. Have a friend check the documents before you mail, fax or email them.
6. Not carefully composing email communication to a potential employer - Every piece of communication is important. Email usually tends to be done in a quick informal manner. Avoid the shorthand and terse paragraphs of normal email. Write email as you would a business letter. You want to be viewed as a polished professional.
7. Not researching company and preparing good questions about the company before the interview - At the interview you want to come across as knowledgeable. Ask questions about the challenges of the job and ones that face the company. These questions display your interest in and knowledge about the company.
8. Not writing thank you notes to all the interviewers after the interview - This is another opportunity to tell the potential employer why you are perfect for the job. Your goal is to keep your candidacy in the hiring manager's mind as he/she makes a decision.
9. Not asking for the decision time frame at the interview - You'll need this information so that you can get back to the hiring manager at appropriate time intervals after the interview. You don't want to be a pest but you also don't want to seem disinterested. Strike a balance but be sure to stay on his/her radar.
10. Not continuing to follow up on the job after the interview at regular intervals - Your follow up by email, telephone and snail mail shows your continued interest in the job. While there is some risk that you will be annoying the hiring manager, it is important that you show that you are persistent and enthusiastic about working for this company.