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5 Mistakes Job Seekers Make (and how to avoid them)

They say that looking for a new job is a job in itself, and just like a job all of us are prone to making the odd mistake here and there – we’re only human after all! But when it comes to conducting your search for a new job, you need to make a good account of yourself and avoid making any slip ups that could see your chances of job success disappear before the ink has even had time to dry on your brilliantly crafted CV.

Here are 5 of the most common mistakes job seekers often make during the application process and tips on how to avoid them:

1. Applications that are not tailored

Adopting the so-called ‘scattergun’ approach to your job search, where you send the same CV and covering letter to very job you apply for, will do your personal reputation more harm than good. Employers are looking for an individual who really wants to work for them, that they have a good understanding of what the company is all about and how they could play a part in helping the business move closer towards achieving its goals. Candidates who are able to passionately explain why they are the right fit for the job are seen as more desirable.

2. Failing to maximise personal and professional networks

Job boards post a plethora of recruitment adverts, but remember that they are the ones that employers pay for – more than 75% of ‘live’ jobs are never advertised. Rather, employers are increasingly tapping into their own networks both online and offline. So think about the companies that you would like to work for, follow them on social media (and keep your own social media profiles up to date too!), identify the key industry events that they attend and get yourself ‘out there’ – be seen and heard in the sane places that they are hanging out.

3. Dressing inappropriately

In Hamlet, Polonius said, “For the apparel oft proclaims the man” – the way you dress is a representation of how you wish to be perceived by your peers. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have – remember you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

4. Sending a CV that is too long (or too short)

There are numerous schools of thoughts that debate the correct length for a CV. However, the general rule of thumb is that your CV needs to accurately reflect your career to date. Our view is that for any position from entry level to middle management your CV should not exceed two sides of A4. For more senior roles, such as head of department or a C-suite executive position, your CV needs to be focused on your professional achievements with a little more meat added to the bone and it’s not uncommon to see these types of CV’s spread to four sides of A4. Just make sure that you only include information that is relevant to the position you are applying for.

5. Failure to demonstrate a professional temperament

A saying often used in business is “people are deals”, and that certainly has some relevance when it comes to recruiting. Employers are looking for candidates to illustrate that they are capable of fitting into the culture of the business, with the right personality and temperament. A job seeker might have all the skills in the world, but if they are unable to show that they have the required values and outlooks, then their chances will likely diminish.

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