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Job Search Diagnostics, Part 1

So your job search has gone on for a little longer than you planned (you’re not alone!). However, the job search can be especially frustrating for job seekers struggling to get interviews. Many job seekers feel that if they could “just get a foot in the door,” they could charm their way into a dream position. So, with our first installment of Job Search Diagnostics, let’s look at what bad habits may be hiding in your job search…if you can’t get an interview.

Your cover letters
If you aren’t sending out a customized cover letter with every application, this is a bad habit in your job search. Customized cover letters are crucial for job seekers trying to get the attention of a hiring manager, and they are your best chance to sell a potential employer on your candidacy. Here are some tips from Spark Hire for great cover letters, and the good news is that it should only take you 20 minutes or so to write one!

Your resume
Not having someone review your resume occasionally may be another bad habit. In addition to looking at a myriad of resume and video resume tips on the internet, consider asking an objective third party to look at your resume. Contact your alma mater’s career center; most universities have staff dedicated to helping job seeker alumni like you find employment. Workforce development offices, or even friends in management, can also be very helpful. Also feel free to give any of these people a sample cover letter to review.

The type and volume of jobs you are applying for
Since the job search is so competitive right now, it is important to carefully consider the type of jobs that you are applying to. Job seekers who apply exclusively to postings on national job search boards, for example, face much steeper competition than job seekers who root out local job listings. Furthermore, it is important to apply to jobs for which you are totally qualified. Although “reach” jobs are certainly not out of the question, applying for these jobs is likely to prolong your job search.

Any skeletons in your internet closet
Many savvy hiring managers will check out a candidate’s social media and internet presence before extending an interview offer. If you have embarrassing or offensive material on the internet, it could be discouraging the hiring manager from giving you a call. Be sure to double check your privacy settings on social media sites to keep your party life private. Or, better yet, take it all down until you have landed a job.

Need some help diagnosing bad habits in your job search? Tell us about your search below, or send me a tweet: @ithinkther4iamb

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by pciet

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Written by

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.

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2 thoughts on “Job Search Diagnostics, Part 1”

  1. I think the notion that your cover letter has to be lengthy is a major weakness of seeking jobs efficiently.  Don’t just repeat what is on your resume. You don’t need a paragraph on your background. Your cover letter can be 5-6 sentences, just make yourself stand out.

    1. @TheJobChaser That’s a really great point! Your cover letter is a chance to let the employer know something different than what is on your resume. Standing out is certainly the most important. You can stand out even more with a video resume, too. Thank you for your comment!

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