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Five job search time wasters

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Are you losing focus in your job search? Finding the days disappearing into an online haze? Here are some common time wasters you should avoid:

1. Applying for every job, no matter how far fetched. It’s so easy now to apply online for jobs that you may be tempted to apply for positions that are likely not really of interest to you. What do you have to lose? Well beyond your own time, you’re wasting the company’s time as well. Focus your job search, thoroughly read job descriptions, research the hiring company and apply for those jobs that seem to be a good fit. Avoiding the shotgun approach gives you more time to spend applying for positions that most closely meet your job search goals. 

2. Continually recreating your resume. We’re told to tailor our resume based on the position we’re applying for, but don’t get carried away and think you have to rewrite your entire resume. Create several base resumes — maybe two to five depending on your career goals — and then modify one of these resumes slightly with appropriate keywords and focus as necessary for each new position. If you need to redo much of your resume to apply for a position, does that position really fit your career goals?

3. Ditto above for cover letters. Cover letters are similar to resumes in that you should have a couple base documents that you can revise as necessary. You should not be writing a cover letter from scratch for each position you apply for.

4. Mindless networking. When you’re networking make sure you let people know you’re looking for a job and a little bit about your job search goals. Use a very brief elevator speech and ask questions about their experience so you can help them determine how they may be able to help you. Don’t be lazy and put the onus on others by saying, “I’m looking for ______, know of any openings?”.

5. Putting all your eggs in one basket. You think you’re a shoe-in for a position you desperately want. While you’re waiting days or weeks to hear from the employer, you essentially put your job search on hold waiting for the offer. Don’t fall into this trap and keep your job search moving forward until you accept an offer.

Are there any ways you wasted time in a job search that you can share?

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 1:00 pm

5 thoughts on “Five job search time wasters”

  1. I find the easiest part of the job search is the resume writing and submission process.

    However, it is a skill to have the patience to do the self-analysis and map out realistic goals beforehand. Since these processes often have less tangible results, it is difficult to see their importance in the job search. If you know your KSAs, have copies of your achievements, and know where to look (number 2 in difficulty), the rest of the job search will come more naturally.

    Failing to know one's strengths and limitations and having a lack of direction, will most likely guarantee that one will fall into one of the time wasters listed above.

  2. Thanks for the comments Bart and Lonnie. Lonnie you bring up a great point that a job seeker must put in the upfront time to determine their goals and objectives (e.g. direction) for their job search.If you know where you are headed, the journey will be shorter!

  3. Avoid applying for positions with poorly defined job descriptions. This includes positions with an over abundance of wide-reaching skills and positions with practically no skills listed. There are a lot of companies out there phishing for your personal information and have no interest at all in hiring. These types of scams are common at both big (fortune 500 companies) and small ones that you've never heard of.

  4. Don't give out your references until you are comfortable with the company. If a company asks for references in the very first phone conversation, run for the hills. This is not a good and a sign of marketing company looking for managers to solicit business to. I advise waiting until at least after the first telephone interview for before giving these out.

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