By Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, FAAN
Job hunting can be daunting, to say the least. But knowing what the major pitfalls are and how to avoid them can dramatically increase your chances of getting the job you want. Here are seven top blunders exhibited by job seekers and proactive solutions for success. If you are guilty of committing any of these, consider how you can improve your approach, technique and mindset, and move toward future success.
Buying into negative generalizations. Adopting the mantras, “There are no jobs out there,” “No one is hiring,” “Employers don’t want me because I’m too old,” can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Generalizations are dangerous and never apply to all people or all situations. Negative slogans also sap your energy. Even in the tightest job markets, employers often are willing to take chances on candidates who present themselves in a professional and upbeat manner.
Dressing inappropriately. Whether going on a job interview or attending a professional networking event, many job hunters dress too casually. The traditional, conservative standard is to wear a business suit (skirted suit for a woman). What you wear makes a loud statement about who you are. And since first impressions play a big role in the job market, dressing well will make the best possible impression. (Exception: If you are a woman who wears other apparel based on religious prescription, that is acceptable.)
Relying exclusively on the Internet. While the Internet can be a great way to search and apply for jobs, it cannot be your primary or only source. You cannot conduct an effective job search without active networking. Attending career fairs, recruitment events, association meetings (even as a guest if you don’t belong), social events, and conferences and conventions is a great way to get the word out about what you’re looking for and garner support and help.
Failing to follow up. Whatever form your networking takes – be it in-person, by telephone or online – you need to follow up with everyone you encounter in your job search. Your initial introduction or contact is only the beginning. It is vital to stay in periodic touch with the people you meet, thank them for their help, keep them posted on your progress and let them know how their advice works out. This shows that you follow through, are assertive and professional, and are appreciative of their assistance and attention.
Not doing your homework. Showing up for an interview without having researched the facility, the specialty (if changing specialties) or even the interviewer is a recipe for disaster. It shows lack of initiative and preparation. The Internet makes it so easy to gather information. Not only will this information assist you in deciding if this position is a good fit for you, but you will be able to demonstrate sincere interest in the facility, the people and their work, and articulate how you would fit in.
Lacking passion and enthusiasm. If you don’t smile or appear confident (you can act confident if you don’t feel confident) or show a real interest in the employer, the interviewer and the position you are applying for, you’ll likely be out in the cold. Create a dialogue with the interviewer that is lively and compelling. This should include a balance of why you would like to work for them (what you like about them) and what you have to offer.
Being inflexible. Candidates who have a laundry list of wants and don’t-wants related to salary, benefits, location, schedule and specialty are cutting themselves off from many great potential opportunities. Attend networking events and interviews with an open mind. Learn what is available, listen and observe. Always consider the big picture, including the long-term growth opportunities.
Copyright Nurse.com (www.nurse.com). All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Don’t forget to check out the 25th Annual Strategies for Educational Excellence for Healthcare Providers Conference being held November 5th and 6th at Penn State. I’ll be giving my “Nursing: The Future is Ours” talk. It’s a must attend event if you can make it. Here are the details for the CONFERENCE