Five mistakes most job hunters make

August 01, 2016
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Job hunting might feel like shouting into the corporate void or traversing a dangerous jungle in search of that golden lost treasure (or office chair), but that doesn’t mean you can’t be as best prepared.

You’ll make some mistakes, commit a couple of social faux pas, and chow down on a couple of doughnuts in your search for post-application comfort, but we promise you’ll get through it and reach the lovely industry job at the end of the.

But first, here’s what not to do.

Not finding the balance between professional and unfriendly

Communication is a key aspect in every part of the job hunting process. But there’s unfortunately a fine line between coming off as professional and coming off as curt or unfriendly.

Sure, its fine for your resume to read as a little generic (but is it really?), and you can only fit so much creative flare into the A4 page of a cover letter. But in order to score an interview you want the person handling your application to think of you more as a potential new work friend, rather than just another applicant.

Stay calm, and never gush about your problems or badmouth your old job. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through though. Think confident, capable and cool. No one said a young professional couldn’t also be a fun person.

Not handing your application in in-person if at all possible

Let’s face it, in the digital age you’re probably not going to get much chance for face-to-face job seeking, so why not make the most of any opportunity you get to do so.

If the job you’re applying for allows you to hand your application in in-person, DO IT. If you’re not sure, give the reception of the company you’re applying to a call and ask if you can drop in a paper copy. If the answer’s ‘no’, then just carry-on with your online application. But it never hurts to ask, right?

Plus, this’ll also give you the chance to get a feel for the office environment, and to figure out any transport problems you might encounter before the Big Interview.

Not using your contact network before turning to job sites

You’ve probably heard it all before, but contacts really are where you’re most likely going to find job opportunities. Test the waters on Facebook, LinkedIn or even through email and you might be surprised what you unearth.

You never know which of your friends is working on a project that could use your help or is in touch with somebody who has a position perfect for you.

Forgetting to follow up

Phone, email, send a white raven, but make sure you follow up any applications you’ve handed in, especially if that application led to an interview. It’s polite, and shows that you take the initiative in seeking feedback to make further improvements. Oh and ask questions – they demonstrate to your potential employer you’re interested and enthusiastic about the specific job you’ve applied for.

Underselling yourself

You’re fresh out of uni, degree in hand; you’re nervous about entering the ‘real world’ as an #adult – we get it. But don’t let your insecurity stop you from including all the wonderful achievements to date.

At the end of the day, people hire people, and you want your potential new employer to know that you know your stuff Not feeling confident? Fake it ’til you make it.

Shannon Coward

Shannon Coward is a third year Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Arts student at the University of Queensland. She enjoys period dramas, doughnuts and a good nap.

Image: Ethan, Flickr Creative Commons