The average number of people who apply for any given job is 118, with only 20 percent of those applicants being awarded an interview, according to a Forbes article. If you want to secure your chances at being part of that 20 percent, then be sure NOT to follow these 10 pieces of job hunting advice.
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1. Apply everywhere. Apply to jobs that align with your overall career objectives, so that you aren’t stuck with a new job that you’ll hate after three months.
2. Any return email address will do. Less is more here. When applying for jobs, use a simple and professional email address that doesn’t give employers the wrong impression. Your best bet is to create an email address that has some variation of your first and last name, which can easily be done for free through Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail, and other well-known email providers.
3. Embellish your experience. Save yourself the embarrassment and never embellish your resume or professional experience. Chances are, you will get caught. The business world is a highly connected place, so being found guilty of “enhancing” your resume a bit is not only unprofessional, but it is also extremely unethical.
4. Apply for the job that pays the most. Just because a particular job does not meet your salary requirements, doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for negotiations later on in the interview process. In fact, “100 percent of employers find it acceptable to negotiate job offers,” with 90 percent of employers expecting a bit of negotiation from candidates. You will be limiting your career options if you base your job hunt on compensation alone.
5. Tell your coworkers you’re looking for a new job. Spreading the good word at your current employer about your active job search is probably not the smartest career move. Not only will the “good news” get back to the boss, but you’ll also find yourself without a job and without a reference.
6. Put your parents as your only references. Yes, this may have worked when you were in high school and applying at the local grocery store for your first job, but not in the professional world. Of course there are exceptions. If your only work experience is at your family’s business and one of your parents was your boss, then it’s acceptable to include his or her name. You just want to stay away from the potential employer thinking that mommy and daddy are doing you a favor because you have no other professional references to list.
7. Load your resume up with tons of big business words. There’s nothing wrong with a little business jargon to spruce up your credentials; after all, you do want to sound like you know what you’re talking about. However, too much business lingo can make your resume stuffy and unappealing, especially if you use the same verbiage that 99.9 percent of other candidates use. Here’s a good list from eSkillfinder.com of the commonly used jargon to avoid on your resume.
8. Settle for a lower salary to get the job. According to a Forbes article, 42 percent of professionals are uncomfortable negotiating salary, which could cause them to lose out on more than $500,000 by the time they reach the age of 60. Taking a pay decrease with a new job will usually end up in you feeling overworked and underpaid, so don’t be afraid to discuss your (realistic) salary requirements when prompted. Employers don’t mind if you negotiate and are honest because they would much rather you negotiate your compensation package before you get hired, rather than ask for a raise shortly after bringing you on board.
9. Don’t call them. They’ll call you. Don’t assume that not hearing back from a potential employer automatically means you didn’t get the job. Many companies hire during times of growth, which means they’re probably too busy to follow up with candidates immediately after the interview process. If you haven’t heard back from a prospective employer a week or more after the interview, then it’s perfectly fine to follow up with a phone call to check the status of the position. Before ending the interview, ask the interviewer when you can expect to hear back from the company, so then you have an idea of what timeframe to expect.
10. Neglect your social media profiles. Hiring managers are going to conduct a preliminary background check via your social media accounts, so be prepared. Even if you don’t have anything blatantly inappropriate on your profiles, it’s always a good idea to adjust your privacy settings and hide your personal life from prospective employers. Read more about effective ways to use social media to boost your candidacy here, as well as the don’ts of social media during a job search, here.
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