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Three Fatal Errors in Job Hunting
Peter K. Studner


1. Relying on a resume

I never saw a resume get a job. On the contrary, screeners often rule out candidates before the hiring person ever reads them. A great resume should be used as prepared notes to leave behind after you have had a great interview. If you cannot get an appointment by telephone, then you use a resume with a sharp cover letter or e-mail to provoke a meeting. The more you know about the person and company you are writing to, the better your communications can be. Generic materials do not produce results. Never repeat in your cover letter what is already in your resume. A well-written cover letter summarizes reasons why a person would want to meet you. Your mission is to meet as many people as possible.

2. Failure to learn what it takes to get the job

People spend more time planning summer vacations than learning what it takes to conduct a job-search campaign. Little wonder they have a hard time landing the right job. Begin your campaign with the latest job-search know-how, and you will greatly enhance your chances for winning a new job in the face of today’s massive layoffs. The most qualified applicants do not always get the best jobs, BUT outstanding candidates always get the best offers. Your objective in preparing for a job search is to become an outstanding presenter of your skills. Take the approach that you are not looking for a job, but rather a home for your skills. This means that you have to learn how to present your skills through your accomplishments so your prospect will want you to do the same for his company. Properly presented, your accomplishments give your next employer reasons to hire you over other applicants.

3. Going after jobs that no longer exist

Nothing is more frustrating or stressful for a job seeker than looking for a job that does not exist. Yet, every day there are thousands of job seekers looking for jobs identical to the one they just left, when in reality, that job has gone away. For example, marketing people are coming out of consumer products divisions of entertainment companies. They loved their work but unfortunately, the market turned and sales numbers no longer justified heavy layers of marketing management. Yet, these candidates insisted on going after other entertainment companies only to later discover that not only their jobs had disappeared, but the industry collectively had eliminated layers of marketing positions.

With initial research, they would have saved much time and stress by looking outside the entertainment sector. Sometimes this reality check takes months to register. Check with human resource departments of target companies and see what jobs are unfilled. Ask recruiters what jobs are in demand, though you will find that over the last 12 months, recruiters are having an exceedingly difficult time getting new assignments; companies do not need recruiters to obtain candidates in this market. Don’t forget to look at your target company’s website to see what openings they are posting. Realign your campaign early where there is a need rather than chase after something that is not there.

Some other errors include:

Poorly prepared letters and collateral materials will rule you out, even if you are the best qualified candidate.
Not addressing what the company is looking for.
Forgetting to thank people who help you along the way.
Relying solely on mail campaigns in lieu of meeting people every day.
Failing to do research on industries, new jobs and companies.
Putting all your effort in chasing recruiters or answering advertisements.
Not practicing interviewing techniques before going out into the market.
Not taking time to learn how to use the Internet as a research and communications tool.


Peter K. Studner is a career counselor, former chief executive of international companies. He is the author of the award-winning manual, Super Job Search, published by Jamenair Ltd, now in its third edition with more than 300,000 copies sold. Studner is president of Peter K. Studner Associates, Inc., an outplacement firm located in California. For additional vital job-search resources, consult:
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