Job Search Mistakes

Searching for a job can be a daunting task. There are literally THOUSANDS of books and related materials on the Job Search Mistakessubject. With a lot of advice about what TO DO, job search mistakes are still very common. Here are some costly, and common, job search mistakes:

  1. Having Only One Resume – There are no one-size-fits-all resumes. If you use a single resume for your job search, you are making a big mistake! Resumes are usually glanced over very quickly to pick those candidates selected for interviews. It is critically important for you to target your resume to the specific company/job. A bit of minor tweaking can often make the difference between getting the interview, or not. Refer to my earlier post on how to target your resume here.
  2. Applying Online – this is a classic job search mistake to avoid. The main reason is because it is what everybody else is doing! It is very easy to get lost in flood of applicants who apply indiscriminately online. Second, many recruiters hold the belief that top-notch candidates don’t apply online. Top candidates are either sought out, or come in through other methods. Finally, applying online may hurt your chances of getting an interview or proper consideration at a company. You are far better off being evaluated as an employee referral, represented by a recruiter, or recommended by someone known to the company.
  3. Not Being Selective – whether you are actively or passively job searching, BE SELECTIVE. I generally advise people to take initial interviews liberally. Meeting the people and company face to face is the best way to see if there might be a fit. After an initial interview, I suggest people get much more selective. Don’t get deep into the interview process, or take things to the offer stage, if you can’t see yourself working at the company. You’ll not only be wasting your time, but you could leave a negative impression with the people who feel like you wasted theirs.
  4. Not Networking – this is the ultimate job search mistake. Study after study shows that the best jobs, and the best chances of landing your next job lies in networking. Friends, classmates, recruiters, alumni organizations, professional organizations, and former coworkers are just some of the categories of contacts you should tap into when considering a job change. Many people don’t do this because it involves more effort, but it is absolutely worth it!

David Staiti is the founder and Managing Partner of Virtus Recruiting, LLC. He has almost two decades of executive search and recruiting experience. He’s published numerous articles on job search and career management topics for The Wall Street Journal, CareerBuilder, and Forbes.com

By |January 18th, 2016|job search, resume|0 Comments

How To Explain Job Changes

Explain Job ChangesHow to explain job changes is a critical piece of being prepared for an interview. Even if you haven’t had a lot of job movement (which in this day and age means staying 5 years or longer on average at each employer), you need to be prepared to explain job changes. If you have a jumpy history and change jobs ever 3 years (or less), then you REALLY need to be prepared to explain your job changes. Here are some basic guidelines:

  1. Be Prepared – you should have rehearsed answers prepared about why you are looking to leave your current job, and why you left previous jobs. This is interview 101 level advice, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people aren’t thoroughly prepared for these questions. Script out answers and rehearse them!
  2. Be Honest – you may have some difficult to explain job changes. You may have some very easy to explain moves. Be honest about reasons for making moves. If your employer went out of business, relocated, sold the business, etc., these are honest answers that basically absolve you from a potential red mark on your resume. If your reason is a bit more delicate (unreasonable boss, you were fired, personal issues with colleagues, etc.) you may have to prepare for a difficult conversation. Tell your side of the story, but don’t misrepresent facts.
  3. Sell Yourself – when discussing reasons for past job changes, put on your salesperson hat. Reasons for leaving past jobs can be used to “sell” yourself to the current employer. For example, if you left a employer due to the stagnant performance of the company, you can make that into a reason why you want to work at the new company (if they are in fact growing). Another example would be moves due to company size or industry. If you are trying to crack into a new industry space or larger/smaller company size, you can explain job changes this way. Make prior job changes tell a story about why you have been building towards working for the type of company you are currently interviewing with.
  4. Don’t Be Too Negative – if you’ve had a really bad experience at an employer, explain the bad situation, but be careful not to sound too negative. Additionally, if you seem to have had multiple “bad experiences”, you need to be really careful when explaining these as multiple “personal reason” moves might send up a red flag.
By |January 18th, 2016|interview, resume|0 Comments

Target Your Resume

target your resumeThere are no one-size-fits-all resumes. In my earlier posts, I’ve covered some resume basics (Two Ways To Boost Your Resume & Resume Formatting). In this post, we will talk about how to target your resume. This is probably one of the most useful, and most underutilized ways of increasing the chance of getting a job interview. When you target your resume to a specific job, you are making your qualifications more obvious, and thus making it easier to get noticed by the employer. As a recruiter, there are days when I go through dozens or even hundreds of resumes. With that type of volume, I can tell you with full honesty that I’m not reading them all in detail, but rather looking for some very obvious signs that the candidate in question warrants a further conversation. Here are some basic methods you can employ to target your resume to a specific job:

1) Cut Out The White Noise — when you want to target your resume, it’s important to focus on the things that are relevant to the potential employer. Things to cut out are Objective, Summary and Personal Interests. An Objective is self explanatory if you are sending it to someone. A resume is itself a summary, so take this section out. Personal Interests are also not going to help you get the interview if you don’t adequately demonstrate your qualifications. In fact, your interests could run contrary to the person screening your resume.

2) Use The Job Description — the job description for the role you are applying to is basically a blueprint as to what is important. Use the position description to identify the key skills and duties of the job, and then make sure your resume and matching experience speaks to the job. For example, the first few bullet points about your current job should highlight the duties talked about in the first few bullets of the position description. If you need to move bullets around, do so! If you need to add more details about your current experience related to the job, do so!

3) Cut And Paste — your word processing program makes tweaks to your resume sometimes as easy as cutting and pasting material in new spots. Bullet points should be shuffled around depending on their relevance to the job. Removing extraneous details is also helpful. Don’t hesitate to move things around to make them more obvious.

4) Focus On The Present — the most recent 3-5 years is where you should include the most detail about your work experience. A complete accounting of your work history is necessary, but short descriptions of your jobs more than 5 years old is sufficient. Your next employer is not likely to put a big premium on experience that isn’t current.

It’s a great idea to have a general resume as a starting point. However, a minimal amount of minor revisions on your resume can really make the difference between getting the interview, or not!

By |January 18th, 2016|job search, resume|0 Comments

Resume Formatting

Resume formatting can make the difference between you getting an interview, or not. In today’s digital world resume formatting is vitally important to your job search efforts. Different computer systems, software versions, email programs, etc., can all cause your resume to look very awkward on the receivers end. Many companies now use resume parsing software programs that analyze resumes in bulk and score applicant matches based on computer algorithms. If a resume has too much formatting, it will be difficult or impossible to read sometimes by the intended recipient.

It is therefore vitally important that you keep your resume formatting to a bare minimum. You want your resume to look good, but you need it to be readable. Here are some basics on resume formatting:

  1. Use a common and recent version of a word processing program when writing your resume (MS Word for example).
  2. Don’t use tables and nested tables to separate different sections of your resume. When being scanned or reformatted in other programs, these tables can wreak havoc on the ability to parse information out of your resume.
  3. Use a standard and common font like Times New Roman, Arial, Courier, etc. Don’t make the font size smaller than 10pt, or larger than 12pt for the content of your resume.
  4. Be consistent with the use of bold and italic type. For example, if you choose to write your current job title in bold type, make sure ALL prior job titles are formatted the same way.
  5. Avoid pictures, graphics, or avatars. I don’t see this often, but it’s worth mentioning that graphics don’t belong on your resume.

Check out my earlier post for some other tips on how to put together a great resume here


By |January 18th, 2016|resume, Uncategorized|0 Comments