Self-Sabotage: Are you hurting your own job search?
We all make mistakes. We make money management mistakes. We goof up at work. We accidentally hurt our friends’ feelings. And most, when in a job search, will make some tactical errors that can impact the outcome. Here are some common errors that can set job seekers back, and how to correct them.
MISTAKE #1 – Self-Sabotage
I see this happen often, usually when the job seeker applies for a job they don’t really want. They need a job, and they submit applications so they can say “See, I’m trying!” But the truth is they either don’t want to work at all, or they just don’t want that particular position – so they unconsciously sabotage their chances. This can happen several ways – completing an online application and not taking care with spelling and grammar – forgetting to attach the resume to an email – or neglecting to follow up with a Thank You message after an interview.
MISTAKE #2 – Bad Relationships
We all have them – that one person from our past who was our nemesis. A co-worker you never really got along with. A boss you couldn’t stand. A client you could never please. However, letting your personal feelings get in the way of professional relationships or common courtesy is a dangerous mistake. Anyone from your career can resurface years later – as a hiring manager, client, employment reference, vendor or other authority. When this happens, it can be tough to make up for past actions.
MISTAKE #3 – Over Sharing
Since 80% of jobs are found through networking, sometimes the hiring manager or someone else on the hiring committee may be a personal friend. It may be tempting to share information that you would typically share with that friend – like your husband’s unemployment as your true motivation for applying. However, during the hiring process, expect to answer tough questions, especially if you have over-shared personal details that other employers wouldn’t have the advantage of knowing. For example, “Why did you leave your last job?” If you were fired, quit because of a disagreement with management, or because you wanted more money -you need to proceed with caution. Another tricky question is “Why are you interested in this job?” If you are returning to work after some time home to raise children (and you’re returning to work because you NEED to, not because you WANT to), or you really don’t want that job, but are hoping to move up the ladder quickly – complete honesty may not be the best policy. The employer wants to know that you are 100% committed to working – and that you care about the job for which you are applying.
Unfortunately, any of these common mistakes can get in the way of a job offer. If you’ve made any of these tactical errors, here are the lessons to learn:
- Take every step of the application process seriously. Even when you think you are a shoe-in because you found the opportunity through networking, you just never know who will be influencers in the hiring process. Even at the mom-and-pop shop down the street, treat your application, resume, and interview with as much care as if you are applying at a Fortune 500 company.
- Relationships matter. I once worked for a Vice President of Sales who commented that he made a point of treating every job candidate like a customer – because chances were, someday they would be. While you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, making an extra effort to keep the peace and have cordial professional relationships can make a difference you may not even see for years to come.
- Tell nothing but the truth, but not the whole truth. It’s important to keep in touch with our professional connections even when you don’t need a job. Often these professional contacts can evolve into personal friendships. But when that friendship shifts to job-networking, always consider how the information you share will be perceived by the employer.
What about you? Have you ever unconsciously sabotaged your own job search because you didn’t really want to work? Have you ever make a crucial tactical error that you realized later?