Stay Clear: Habits To Kick during your job search
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If youâre being honest, you can probably name a bad habit or two that impacts your personal life. But what about those not-so-great behaviors related to your job search?Weâve identified four habits you might need to kick to put yourself at the front of the hiring line, and provide tips for overcoming these potential stumbling blocks. Read on to see if any of these following bad habits ring true:
Giving in to negativity
Itâs a clichÃ©, but attitude really is everything. Pay attention to your internal thought patterns as you job-hunt. If youâve been looking for months, itâs easy to start thinking âI know this company wonât hire meâ or âThis networking event is going to be a waste of time.âYour attitude can come across in subtle ways you may not even realize. It might be a less-enthusiastic cover letter or low energy when you interact with people at networking events. And since hiring managers want to work with positive employees, your negativity can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.So how can you stay upbeat? For starters, shift the tone of your internal dialogue by adding a positive spin: âI know this company wonât hire me â¦ unless I prepare a targeted resume and cover letter.â âThis networking event is going to be a waste of time â¦ unless I set aside time to do follow-ups a day or two afterward.âThen seek out support in the real world. Check Meetup.com to find groups of local job seekers who can help you keep your spirits up. Or you can simply reach out to a close friend or mentor and ask for help brainstorming fresh job-hunting ideas.
Winging the interview
Youâre a natural people person. Itâs no big deal to strike up a conversation with a stranger and make an immediate connection. But those killer soft skills arenât a substitute for preparing before every job interview.An experienced interviewer knows when you havenât bothered to look beyond the home page of the companyâs website or when youâre struggling to give examples about past work accomplishments. Neither bodes well for how youâd perform on the job.Prepare for every interview with a strategic eye. What do you want the interviewer to remember about you? Identify the three most important things youâd like to communicate about yourself. Do you want to come across as creative? As a leader who can motivate others? As a sales superstar?Next, find out everything you can about what the company does and where itâs going. Then, use this knowledge, coupled with what you want to communicate about yourself, to guide you in preparing answers to common interview questions. Practice your responses out loud, as you might before a big presentation.
Being too informal (or downright unprofessional)
One area where people get into trouble? Flip communication. When youâre emailing a potential employer, your tone shouldnât come off as casual as a quick text or instant message. Include a greeting and salutation (as with an old-fashioned letter) and avoid slang, text abbreviations and spelling and grammar errors. Good phone manners count, too.When your killer communication skills land you the interview, take care to put forward a professional appearance from head to toe. This isnât the time to show off your personal style. Choose classic (even slightly conservative) business wear that fits well. Many employers still expect candidates to show up in a suit.Itâs also crucial to pay attention to shoes, socks and accessories. And whatever you do, donât forget to switch off your smartphone and other digital devices before you head into the meeting.
Coming across as arrogant
Youâre so focused on projecting confidence â and communicating past successes â that you come across as arrogant. You know, the slightly obnoxious guy or gal no one wants on the team?The first sign that you might be crossing the line: You take all the credit in every work story. Make sure to focus on teamwork and collaboration, not just how you saved the day, when you discuss your professional accomplishments. Strike a balance between team projects and personal triumphs.Itâs also crucial not to do all the talking when your meet with potential employers. This is your chance to learn more about the company and position. Make a point to listen carefully and ask relevant questions.If youâre a new college grad, be especially careful to avoid arrogance. Youâre new to the working world, so itâs important to come across as someone whoâs looking forward to new opportunities and learning from co-workers.While facing up to bad habits is rarely fun, doing so could mean the difference between a job offer and a few more months of hunting for leads and contacts. Take an honest look at what youâre doing, then make a few job-search resolutions to change your habits for the better.Robert Half International is the worldâs first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 400 staffing and consulting locations worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit www.roberthalf.com. For additional career advice, view our career bloopers video series at www.roberthalf.com/bloopers or follow us on Twitter at
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