Are you making these job search mistakes? – Career Coach MJV
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Are you making these job search mistakes?

Oops! key on the computer keyboard, three-dimensional rendering, 3D illustration

With rare exception, landing the right job takes longer than you think.

Sometimes job seekers are their own worst enemy. They do things that unnecessarily prolong the search.  Here are a few mistakes you definitely want to avoid.

Squandering networking opportunities by asking for a job.

Part of my job as a career coach is to educate clients on networking protocol. Networking is about playing the long game. Many people in work and business expect immediate results when networking. In the professional business networks of which I am a member, I notice that some people join and expect a sale or a new client immediately. They don’t realize that it takes time to build a relationship and create trust. They exit after a month or two complaining that they never got any business.

The same is true in a job search. When making new connections, it takes time and, yes, some effort, to forge a friendship or business relationship. Networking is never about asking for a job. It is about building a relationship, sharing information, creating awareness, and learning more about an industry, company, or potential contacts.

Appearing desperate.

Job seekers sometimes wait too long to get serious about a job search. They wrongly assume that the search and vetting process will be quick, or they use ineffective, passive strategies that prolong the search. With rare exception, landing the right job takes twice or three times as long as expected. And that is when you do everything right. Taking a passive approach, limiting your search to applying online, avoiding networking, or staying in your comfort zone will dramatically extend your search.

Devoting too little time to the job hunt or working on it sporadically.

I ask potential clients how much time they are currently spending on their job search. The answers are eye-opening. Some say as little as four or five hours a week, others tell me they spend as much as 25 or 30 hours, all of which is spent scouring the internet for opportunities.

A serious quest for a job takes real commitment. For those who are not working, expect to spend at least 25 hours a week in active pursuit, two or three of which can be spent online tracking down opportunities. The balance of the time should be used to build your network, write cover letters, develop leave-behinds, fine-tune other marketing tools, enlist advice and support from those in your circle of influence.

Assuming your friend will get you the job.

One client came to me when he didn’t get a job for which he assumed he was a shoo-in. A former boss who liked and knew his work was on the interview panel.  He figured that would be enough to sway the rest of the panel. It wasn’t. He learned too late that he had to sell himself to everyone. His former boss told him as much after the interview. We worked together to develop success stories that highlighted his expertise. He confidently shared these during his next interview and walked away with the offer.

It is easy to become discouraged when a job search takes longer than expected. Set reasonable expectations, actively pursue opportunities and when you hit a wall, ask for help.


Not sure where to start? Take advantage of a 2-hour Career Action Planning session to get to the heart of your job or career issue.

© 2018 Mary Jeanne Vincent.  All rights reserved.