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Five Mistakes That May Be Derailing Your Job Search
If your quest for employment isn't going as planned, this information could help.

February 2, 2012
Sponsored by Robert Half Management Resources

You’ve sent out plenty of résumés, in fact, so many that you have lost count, but your phone is hardly ringing off the hook with requests for interviews. You’re beginning to get frustrated because you’re not getting very far in your job search.

Instead of dwelling on the slow start, it’s time to step back and rethink the steps you’ve taken. You may be making critical errors that are preventing you from capturing the interest of hiring managers. Here are five common mistakes that may be derailing your job hunt:

  1. Creating One Résumé

    It doesn’t matter how well crafted your résumé is, if you’re sending the same one to every employer, you’re off track. A plain-vanilla, generic résumé isn’t going to grab the attention of hiring managers.

    Companies want to see that you are a good potential fit for their openings, which means your résumé needs to be customized. Make sure you’re considering an employer’s needs carefully and tailoring your document to reflect those needs. For instance, if you’re applying for a position with a multinational corporation, you’ll want to focus more on your recent experience at a similar organization than less relevant time at a small company. Make sure what you’re sharing is honest, though, and truly reflects your background.
  2. Applying to Every Financial Job You See

    On the surface, it seems wise not to be choosy and just send your résumé to every financial opening out there. You’ll increase your odds of landing an interview by casting a wide net, right? Unfortunately, no.

    Employers want candidates who are highly motivated to join their teams. If you’re applying for everything you see, you won’t have time to spend learning about each company, thinking about whether you’re a good fit and customizing job search materials. The more energy you devote to each application, the greater the chances you’ll impress hiring managers.
  3. Not Using Social Media to Your Advantage

    Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn make it easy to share news of your job search. However, think twice before issuing a mass broadcast of your hunt through status updates. Your efforts will be better spent sending targeted messages to your contacts. People are more likely to pay attention to a personalized note than a widely distributed update.

    And don’t forget to take advantage of the broad base of connections you get through social media. Check to see who your contacts are linked to, and ask for introductions to people who might further your search. Also use social networking sites to track down new connections, such as individuals who work at an accounting firm you’d like to join.
  4. Relying Strictly on Online Job Ads

    Many job seekers make the mistake of focusing all of their energy on looking for openings online. While job boards and company websites are definitely great tools to use during a search, they should be one of multiple strategies.

    Many available positions aren’t even advertised and often are filled simply through word-of-mouth. Make sure you stay in contact with your professional network and ramp up your activity through associations like the AICPA. Working with a recruiter can also help you learn of suitable jobs.
  5. Forgetting the Finer Details

    Make sure your job search materials are in good shape. Ask friends and family to take a fresh look at your résumé. Are there any typos or grammatical errors? Are you conveying your qualifications clearly? Input from others may help you spot mistakes.

    Also, when you’re called in for interviews, make an effort to let your personality shine through. Employers will not only be evaluating your skills but also your general attitude and how well you might fit within the team. After the meeting, take the time to send a handwritten thank-you note that reiterates your interest in the position and highlights ways you are a good match.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with a job search. By re-evaluating the steps you’re taking, you can not only correct mistakes but also find ways to renew your motivation. For instance, focusing more attention on networking may put you in touch with people who offer leads and support. This can make all the difference in helping you find that next great job.


This article is provided courtesy of Robert Half Management Resources, one of North America’s largest consulting services firm providing senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project basis. For further information, visit www.roberthalfmr.com or follow Robert Half Management Resources on Twitter at twitter.com/roberthalfmr.