HOW TO AVOID THESE TOP 3 JOB SEARCH BLUNDERS

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By Alex Harrington, Executive Director

Since the beginning of the great Information Age, online job resources have become the predominant standard for almost all job seekers. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, “researching and applying for jobs online is nearly universal among most job seekers.” Not only can job seekers apply for jobs on many different job boards (e.g., USAJOBS, Indeed, Monster.com, LinkedIn, etc.), they also have at their fingertips a boundless supply of online job resources that describe how to write a resume, prepare for an interview, or dress for success. 

With the countless supply of online job resources available throughout the great expanse of digital space, it would seem that any job seeker would find success in landing a job. Yet, far too often, many of them quickly face frustration and disappointment when there are no instantaneous emails or phone calls from hiring managers offering them the job of their dreams.

Now some of you may be thinking, especially those who are searching for federal jobs, “Hey! I’ve applied for many federal jobs and still haven’t heard back from anyone. It feels like my resume has gone into a pile that will never be reviewed! And I wait…and wait..and still wait, and no one has contacted me yet!”

This all too common story that I hear from job seekers leads to their first blunder:

Photo by ZipRecruiter.com

MANY JOB SEEKERS SIT AND WAIT TO HEAR BACK FROM SOMEONE REGARDING THEIR FEDERAL JOB APPLICATION.

If the truth be told, I have heard far too many times, “I’ve applied for a certain federal job and waited for a response. Then after a while I would try to contact human resources to check the status of the job.” 

This behavior is akin to “putting all your eggs in one basket.” You should not be wasting  precious time from your job search waiting to hear back from one job. In my opinion, this is the biggest blunder. So, to avoid sitting and waiting to hear back from someone about your federal job application, you should be focused on hitting a targeted goal of applications each week. For example, you could set a goal to apply for two federal jobs each week. To help you reach this goal, I developed a Federal Application Tracker to help you keep track of your applications. You can click here to download the tool.

During my past career workshops, I would ask someone from the audience, “How many hours do you put in each week for your job search?” The average response I usually get is about 5-8 hours per week. Then, I would remind them that looking for a job is a Job in itself, and that requires 40 hours a week of job search work.

Which naturally leads us to many job seekers’ second blunder. 

MANY JOB SEEKERS DO NOT PUT IN THE NECESSARY AMOUNT OF HOURS EACH WEEK TO LOOK FOR A JOB.

If you are not putting in 40 hours a week in your job search, then do not be surprised if no one is contacting you for an interview. To help you, I’ve created the Weekly Job Search Schedule Worksheet that lists 19 effective job search tactics. You can click here to download the schedule with directions.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, “Having a morning routine can increase your energy, productivity and positivity. It also generates momentum, building up to the brain’s peak time for cognitive work (late morning).” Unfortunately, many job seekers to do not start the day off right in the morning, which leads to the final blunder:

Photo by CBS News

MANY UNSUCCESSFUL JOB SEEKERS DO NOT HAVE A STRUCTURED MORNING ROUTINE.

In my morning schedule, I get up at the same time each day — even on weekends! By getting up at the same time every day and following a morning routine, it will help you pull yourself together and be prepared to face your day, and more importantly, kick start your job search. And if you are not making your bed in the morning, I would strongly encourage you to start. In fact, Admiral William H. McRaven (U.S. Navy Retired) claims that making your bed is great practice for discipline and attention to detail. 

“Making my bed correctly was not going to be an opportunity for praise. It was expected of me. It was my first task of the day, and doing it right was important. It demonstrated my discipline. It showed my attention to detail, and at the end of the day it would be a reminder that I had done something well, something to be proud of, no matter how small the task.” (Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World, 2017)

So, in order to maximize your job search, be sure to:

  1. Hit a targeted goal of applications each week.
  2. Put in 40 hours a week in your job search.
  3. Get up at the same time every day and follow a morning routine.

I truly hope this information has been helpful for you like it has been for me. Now, get out there and do some job searching!

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Please follow us on Twitter @FedCareer and join our Federal Career Connection page on LinkedIn or find us on Meetup at meetup.com/mbc-cnm.To get updates on upcoming workshops and career coaching sessions, visit https://federalcareerconnection.org/2021-fcc-calendar/

Author: Alex Harrington is currently a Federal civil servant and a Certified Career Services Provider and Global Career Development Facilitator. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is a Persian Gulf War veteran.

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Federal Career Connection

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A free resource for Americans who want to serve in the federal government, while helping the government recruit individuals who possess high standards of integrity, conduct, and concern for the public interest.

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