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Behavior vs. Personality



20 Preventable Job Search Errors

The phrase "shoot yourself in the foot" did not create itself. Even though it didn't originate with job seekers, it may as well have. Every day, hundreds and hundreds of individuals look for a vacancy, and virtually every one of them makes at least one misstep in the process. The worst part is, many of these blunders are avoidable.

"It never ceases to amaze me when individuals make errors, then smack themselves on the brow and shout, 'I can't believe I did that.' I feel the need to pop them on the head," says JaLynn Hudnall, of Georgia-based Ravenwood Forest Consulting, a business consultancy. Here are 20 dumb job-search mistakes that specialists say you can stay clear of with a little thought:

1. Not using a professional email address.
"It is wonderful that you are proud of your historical past and cultural roots. However, please do not use 'juicygapeach' as your email address," Hudnall says. "There are enough free e-mail hosts out there that you can set up a simple first.last account that is professional and ordinary."

2. Leaping into the fire without your fireproof undies.
"Don't start your quest without a strategy or much conception as to where you need to go and how you plan to get there," says Julie Bauke, author of "Quit Peeing On Your Shoes: Avoiding the seven Blunders That Screw up Your Job Search." Also, make sure you can answer these three crucial questions: Why are you in the job market? Tell me about yourself. What are you looking to do next?

3. Not checking your appearance in the mirror ahead of strolling into an interview.
"I formerly interviewed someone who had a huge piece of lettuce hanging off his mustache," says Mario Schulzke, creator of, which provides online career education. "I should have said something to him, but it was just too awkward and alternatively I used up thirty minutes staring at the guy's upper lip."

4. Falling into the 'black hole.'
Many job seekers misconstrue the role of the Internet in their employment search, Bauke says. "It is good for investigation and contacts," she says, but "you are not most likely to find a job that way."

5. Being absentminded.
"One mistake that I have noticed a number of occasions over the years is people using a cover letter template and forgetting to modify the organization and person's name to who it is addressed," says Paul Peterson, a national "talent resource" supervisor. "Your cover letter should always be customized to the company and title to which you are applying."

6. Going to networking activities -- but not actually networking.
"Real networking is building jointly beneficial associations," Bauke says. That can be troublesome to do in a group environment. "Make certain you are having at least three to 5 one-on-one meetings per week."

7. Omitting a signature block in your e-mail.
"A signature block is a perfect place to give a brief 20-word teaser and include a link to your online résumé," Hudnall says. For instance, "Georgia environmental engineer with 7 years experience, seeking employment in new environment, click here for complete résumé."

8. Casting your net too widely.
"You are not a fit in all places and you are not good at everything," Bauke says. "Your pursuit will be much more effective if you concentrate on exactly what type of work you want to perform and where you wish to do it."

9. Not paying attention.
"Job seekers usually are not reading the job description thoroughly and following the specific directions supplied by the company, recruiter or hiring executive," says Eddy Salomon, founder of and "The job description may say, 'Please submit an application by going to x site. Please do not send out a résumé.' But many employment seekers are guilty of scanning the data offered and will end up doing the opposite of what has been described and dispatch a résumé. Employers can't help but exclude these applicants because it displays a lack of attention to detail and the failure to follow directions."

10. Overlooking the interviewing "gimme" questions.
Prepare to answer the essentials questions: What are your strengths and weaknesses? Tell me about yourself. Why should we hire you? "You know they are pending. Be prepared," Bauke says.

11. Not becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce.
"Every chamber throughout the United States has a month-to-month get-together usually called something similar to 'Business After Hours,' and many even have young professionals establishments," Hudnall says. "Not making use of this as an occasion to network and meet other people in your field is a missed opportunity."

12. Having grammar or spelling mistakes on your résumé or cover letter. "No matter how many résumés you mail out, each customized to suit one job description, you should evaluate each one carefully for grammar and spelling errors," says Rick Saia, content author for Massachusetts-based Pongo Résumé, which provides résumé and cover letter templates. "Even the tiniest error will cast a bad impression on the hiring executive, particularly if you record 'attentive to detail' as a strength. It's always good practice to have a trusted friend or relative read through your documents before you send them."

13. Not being mindful of your social media existence.
"Job seekers ought to be mindful of social profiles and photos they may have out on the Internet that may deemed inappropriate. In some instances, employers may possibly secretly attempt to 'friend' you on a certain social community so they can have access to your wall and images," Salomon says. Before applying to any job, hunt for your name to be certain that nothing is out there that would be deemed inappropriate.

14. Attempting to turn an informational interview into a job interview. "This is probably the worst form of abusing your group contacts. An informational interview is to get information, not an offer," says Ron Katz, author of "Someone's Gonna Get Hired ... It May As Well Be You!" "When people begin peppering the contact to find out if there are any openings or positions to be had, the individual with whom they are meeting feels duped, taken advantage of and, at worst, angry and resentful."

15. Not owning a LinkedIn profile.
"Numerous employers and HR consultants use LinkedIn as their go-to resource for additional data concerning a candidate," Schulzke affirms. "If you don't have a LinkedIn profile, you are missing out on a vitally important opportunity to exhibit your talents and knowledge."

16. Failing to research the corporation.
"At least take a little time to assess the company's webpage and employ a little of that knowledge in your résumé and cover letter," Saia says. "When you get to the interview, you'll need to know a great deal more, especially to show how your abilities and know-how match up with the demands of the job and how your skills and knowledge can benefit the company."

17. Not following up subsequent to applying for a vacancy.
"Following up is critical to set you apart from other candidates. Job seekers often omit this key step because, for instance, they applied online and do not have a person's name to follow up with," says Amy Olmscheid, administrator of the occupation center at Capella University, an internet based university based in Minneapolis. "But if you don't have a name of a particular person to follow up with, locate one. Use the Internet or use your set of contacts. Search out the name of a contact in human resources or a supervisor in the department you want to work in and then follow up with a telephone call or e-mail."

18. Neglecting to follow up after an interview.
"Always remit a thank-you note to the interviewer," Olmscheid says. "Sending your letter by email is perfectly appropriate, but a handwritten note is a splendid extra touch."

19. Failing to ask questions at the interview.
"Be mindful that you would like to find out about the organization and hiring manager as much as you want to inform them about you," Saia says. "By passing on the chance to ask questions, you're sending a message that you're not that engrossed in the job. And employers desire applicants who are interested."

20. Depending on a sole job-pursuit technique.
"A number of job seekers will declare that they are only using online job forums, and those people may possibly miss excellent opportunities," Olmscheid says. "Job seekers most often discover additional job opportunities and create more connections that can lead to positions when they use a multipronged approach. Amp up your job search with job boards, face-to-face meetings, networking at professional development meetings, telephone networking as well as additional search techniques."