Don’t Sabotage Your Job Search with This Common Mistake

Searching for a new position is challenging enough, even when you do everything right. But certain common mistakes can derail your plans, making it even harder to find the best jobs for you. To help you get the most of your job search, there is one mistake to avoid from the beginning: not knowing exactly what you want.

Searching Without a Target

The job market is complex; you’ll spend hours searching through postings trying to find options that seem like a good fit. But you need to have a plan. If you begin searching without a relatively narrow goal in mind, you can easily find yourself overwhelmed, or applying to a mix of jobs that seemed like a good idea at the moment.

While some may think that casting a (very) wide net is smart, it can lead to a lot of wasted time. Instead, consider what you really want in your next position. If the problem is you aren’t exactly sure about what you want, it is time to narrow it down before you start sending out resumes.

Identify Your Skills

The first step in avoiding this mistake is to review your skills. Consider what you have done before, educational and training experience, and even skills acquired through hobbies. Figure out which of these describe what you would like to do in your next job, and keep them together as a list.

This is going to serve as a foundation to begin researching where those skills can take you.

Research Your Options

Now that you have your skills identified, it is time to understand where they can take you. First, take some time to search profiles on sites like LinkedIn by finding what others who share your abilities are doing during their working hours. While not every profile will be an exact match, it does help determine what others have done with skill sets like yours. Sometimes, it can provide inspiration or help you determine a goal.

Don’t just review the profile owner’s current position, look at the other jobs and education that have brought them to this point. That way, you can see where you may fit in on a career ladder you found appealing. List any job titles that seem to be a good fit, as these will be your guide.

Next, begin using the information you have gathered to do some job searching. Consider searching for the job titles you found appealing, or on the common skills that you recognized on the LinkedIn profiles. Luckily, most job postings can be searched by title and keywords, so you have the ability to use them freely.

While you are searching, don’t be afraid to filter. If you have a specific location where you intend to work, avoid performing national (or even statewide) searches. Similarly, consider any salary requirements you may have and use them when appropriate. This is an exercise in efficiency, so if you don’t want to commute more than 30 minutes each way, it is better to set boundaries first. If you don’t get the best results, you can always expand your area and adjust your conditions accordingly.

Get Outside Help

One of the quickest ways to see where your skills can take you is to consult with a staffing firm. Professionals working in the field are familiar with the requirement of many jobs and can help you understand your options more fully. The Squires Group can help you find more opportunities that meet your skills and needs. Contact them today to help you focus your efforts for the most effective job search possible.


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