10 Ways that Job Seekers Waste Time

You need to find a new job quickly.  You don’t have time to fool around.  You may be surprised to learn that many job seekers spend most of their time on activities that do not produce results.  Make sure that you don’t get caught up in these time wasters:

1.  Repeatedly revising the resume.  While it is essential that you customize every resume, you don’t want to spend so much time modifying it that you don’t have time to send it out.  No matter how perfect your resume is, the employer will never call you if they don’t receive it.

2.  Relying too much on online job sites.  Since most people spend the majority of their job search time on these sites, they are where you will face the most competition.  Look at the sites, but separate yourself from the herd by identifying job leads in other ways.

3.  Applying for jobs for which you do not have the minimum qualifications.  If you are missing one or two minor requirements, then go ahead and apply.  However, if you are not even remotely qualified for the position, don’t waste your time.  If you are applying for positions that are inappropriate for you, it may cause the employer to have a negative perception of you, which could affect your ability to get a position with that organization in the future.

4.  Submitting generic resumes and cover letters.  Sending blanket resumes and cover letters is not an effective use of your time.  You will have a significantly higher response rate if you make the effort to customize your resume and cover letter for the particular position and organization.  Focus on quality rather than quantity.

5.  Focusing too much on a single organization.  If you have a goal to work for a particular organization, it can be tempting to focus on it so much, that you don’t apply to many other places.  Try not to fall into that trap.  You could be blocked at a single organization for any number of reasons.  For example, they could have a hiring freeze, or they may not have any positions available for your particular skill set.  Open yourself up to other organizations.  Resist the urge to put all of your eggs in one basket.

6.  Setting up many different online profiles.  Organizations differ significantly in terms of their application process.  With some organizations, it is as simple as sending an email.  However, with others, you need to go through the time consuming process of setting up an online profile.  Some of these profiles take hours to complete properly.  To ensure that you are using your time effectively, be selective about where your set up online profiles.  If you are only moderately interested in the position, it may not be worth your time.

7.  Not enough labour market research.  Some people plow ahead with their job search without actually doing the labour market research.  Before you start applying, it is essential that you ask yourself, “Is this position in demand?”  If you are not seeing many advertisements for the position, it may be time to change your focus.

8.  Following up every day.  While following up on your application can set you apart from the competition, following up everyday is just annoying.  Call once, and then move on.  The employer doesn’t have time for repeated phone calls, and neither do you.

9.  Setting up social networking sites without using them strategically.  Some job seekers spend a lot of time setting up profiles on social networking sites, but they don’t actually use the site to connect with people who are working in their field.  Setting up the profile is only half the battle.  If you don’t use it to build your network, then it is not worth your time.

10.  Dismissing opportunities too quickly.  Some job leads will seem unappealing at first glance.  However, don’t be too quick to dismiss anything.  Keep in mind that it takes time to uncover a job lead.  If you reject a job lead too quickly, that time and effort is wasted.  Keep an open mind and remember that sometimes the best job opportunities come in unexpected packages.

When looking for a job, it is too easy to get into a situation where you are keeping busy, but you aren’t making much progress.  If you avoid these time wasters, and conduct your job search efficiently, you can achieve your goal and get a job months sooner.

(Written by Karen Bivand)


One thought on “10 Ways that Job Seekers Waste Time

  1. jvstoronto May 1, 2012 / 3:24 am

    This is an excellent post! Simple and realistic solutions for job searchers are hard to find. Thank you for posting. We will share it with our colleagues and clients. Thanks

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