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Top 10 Job Hunting Mistakes

Tips and Ideas to help you find the right job after 50

Recently a group of 12 experienced Human Resource Managers and recruiters, with a collective 105 years of experience, got together and listed the top 10 job hunting mistakes. These mistakes are regardless of the type of job the job hunter was looking for-the jobs ranged from part-time, an internship or a professional looking for a full-time job.

In Your Career Change After 50 don't make these Job Hunting Mistakes

In addition, the job hunting mistakes included individuals looking for a career change over 50, and job searches over 50 in the same career. Therefore, it doesn’t seem to be just the inexperienced that made these mistakes but it occurred across all age groups and career fields.

Avoid these top ten common job hunting mistakes and you'll be a lot closer to the right career and the best job possible.

Here's the top ten job hunting mistakes listed in no particular order:

1. Applying for a position that you are obviously not qualified for. The HR managers were clear on this mistake. They were not saying when the job announcement asked for at least 3 years of experience, that it's a mistake for you to apply for the job when you only have 2 ½ years experience. Rather, the job announcement listed as a key requirement, a college degree, and the job applicant hadn't graduated from high school.

In another frequent example, the job requirement listed a specific certification or license and the applicant had neither basic qualification.

2. All of the HR managers stated they filled many positions by never advertising. The estimates ranged from 40% to 90%, of individuals hired through referrals, the candidate came knocking and later an opening occurred or the HR manager found a good candidate working somewhere else and encouraged them to apply.

So another big job hunting mistake is waiting for the job to come to you rather than you hunting down possible job openings and opportunities.

3. Many job hunters, the HR managers stated, did not take the job search seriously. The job hunting process takes time and if currently unemployed, should be looked upon as a full time job.

The HR managers all had stories to tell of the applicant who was sending out a couple of resumes a week and was expecting to quickly find the right job.

4. Not doing your homework, the HR managers agreed, has doomed many an applicant. An applicant who lacks knowledge about the employer will quickly go the bottom of the list. With the internet, and other resources, it's a quick study to learn basic knowledge about a company or organization.

A candidate who knows the company's products or services, its competitors and current issues affecting the company will have a considerable advantage in the hiring process.

5. A small item but easy to correct. Sending in an application packet and addressing it to "To whom it may concern."

All the HR managers gave credit to the applicant who called the company and asked for the name of the HR manger or the hiring manager and directed their information to that individual. Also, much of this information may be available on the internet.

6. At the job interview the applicant who has great difficulty talking about their accomplishments. So many applicants never adequately explain why they should be hired. The interviewer is no mind reader so the applicant doesn't get hired.

7. The applicant who shows up for the interview overconfident and unprepared. The HR managers all stated they see applicants every week who apparently expect to be hired because they showed up, were witty and expected that to impress the interviewer.

8. The applicant who never follows up on the interview is another job hunting mistake. No thank you letter to add to the information learned in the interview, no phone calls, nothing. This doesn't mean the applicant should be calling every day, but reasonable contacts show the hiring manager that you are still interested.

9. A lack of professional appearance. This not only includes yourself personally, but how your resume is put together, the type of paper. Purple paper will stand out but is not professional. A "cute" email address like will not make it; get a new email address.

10. Not being organized. Several of the HR managers related stories of calling the applicant for more information and getting a confused response.

It's a good practice to keep a log of your job hunting activities; notes of interviews, material sent to employers, if you customize each resume and cover letter copies of each, dates of follow-up calls and results, all show a level of organization that will help you find the right job.

So there you have it, the top 10 mistakes way to many job applicants make that keeps them from being hired. Their job hunt takes to long and many times when they do get hired it's the wrong job for the wrong employer.

With the current high level of competition for many jobs it’s the little details that will keep you application on track. Take these top 10 to heart and you'll more quickly find the right job with the right employer that you'll be happy with. For more job search information go to job search after 50.

John Groth
May 20, 2011


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