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4 Big Job Search Mistakes That’ll Hold You Back

​Getting a job can feel like a monumental task—and for consultants, it’s a monumental task that must be faced ...

​Getting a job can feel like a monumental task—and for consultants, it’s a monumental task that must be faced on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, mistakes are all too common. Let’s dive into the biggest errors people make when trying to find their next role.

1. Applying to Too Many Jobs

It’s easy to assume that the more jobs you apply to, the higher your likelihood of landing one. But the opposite is true; turning in ten job applications is usually worse for your chances than turning in half as many.

Why? Most people have only so much time and energy to dedicate to the job search. If you apply to ten jobs in one month, those applications will be far less thoughtful and well crafted than if you’d focused on five.

In addition, applying for a ton of positions suggests you’re not being selective enough. You want a good fit—not a good enough one. Not only will targeting the best roles increase your odds of getting hired, but you’ll also be happier and more successful in the role itself.

2. Reusing Your Materials

Many organizations have eliminated the cover letter requirement from their job listings. Hiring managers and recruiters skim this content, if they read it at all. And can you blame them? The typical cover letter is relatively unexciting and generic and, worse, rarely provides new information about the candidate.

If you are asked to submit a cover letter, make yours stand out. Don’t copy and paste one from a former application and simply update the names and date. Write a brand-new cover letter tailored to this specific opportunity and company.

The same goes for your resume. Some people use their standard resume for every application, but this approach doesn’t impress hiring managers. Instead, customize your resume by highlighting the experiences and skills most relevant to this role.

3. Doing It Solo

Your network can add a lot of value during the job search. For example, when you’re unsure whether your qualifications are sufficient for a role, your professional connections can help you assess the potential fit.

If you’re struggling to stay motivated during a long search—or you’re rejected by one of your top choices—your friends and family can provide emotional support.

And if you need a holistic view of the situation, a mentor is often a great source of guidance.

Bringing in external help is also an option. Career coaches and resume consultants offer invaluable, objective feedback and suggestions, while negotiation experts can help you prepare for salary discussions.

4. Ignoring Your Results

To end up in a great job, you must refine your strategy based on what’s working and what’s not. The best way to differentiate the two? Review your historical job search data.

First, map out your ratios for:

  • Application to first interview
  • First interview to second interview
  • Second interview to third interview

And so on, until you’ve reached the job-offer stage. Now identify your weak spots, or the points where you typically fall out of the process.

Perhaps you receive interviews for 80% of the jobs you apply to, but just 5% of those phone interviews lead to in-person meetings. A dip that dramatic tells you that your phone interview skills could use some work.

Or maybe you’re struggling to get interviews at all. That suggests that you’re applying to the wrong jobs or your applications aren’t portraying you in the best light.

Once you’ve corrected these mistakes, it’ll be easier to both find and land the ideal consulting role.

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