July 18, 2017 8:00 am

5 mistakes you’re making when looking for a job

It can take about 20 weeks to find a new job, according to Statistics Canada.

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So you’ve been sending out résumés and have even gotten a few interviews, but after weeks (if not months) of trying, you’re still unemployed. What gives?

If you think about it, anyone looking for a job is competing against thousands of other applicants every time they submit their résumé for consideration so the competition is fierce.

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According to a 2014 report by Workopolis, it takes an average of 16 weeks for someone to find employment, while Statistics Canada reports the process taking about 20 weeks.

“During that transition, you can get a sense of being lost and maybe experience a little bit of a depression or feeling unworthy,” says Arturo Gallo, content manager at Monster Canada. “You start questioning so many things about your career goals and paths, but that’s pretty normal. So we usually encourage job seekers to use that transition time as an opportunity to really focus their career towards something they really want to be happy doing. If you look at this time as a positive thing, it’s an amazing opportunity to think of career change and growth.”

But if after all that time of sending out your CV and interviewing for positions and you still haven’t been given an offer, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy.

According to Gallo, there are five common mistakes job seekers often do that can cost them the job, but may not be aware that they’re doing.

1. You’re not doing your homework

This is the number 1 mistake people make, Gallo says, and it’s one that can stop a job seeker even before they start.

“I try to stress this to everyone I can,” he says. “Always do your research. It’s important to research the company you’re applying to. See if you’re going to fit into the company culture. Read the job description because it’s very discouraging for recruiters to receive résumés from people who don’t read the job description to see if they match it, and it takes your résumé out of the competition right away.”

2. You’re not practicing for the interview

“When you’re preparing for an interview that’s over the phone or in person, practice,” Gallo advises. “It sounds funny but you have to prepare for it like you’re preparing for an acting role. Look at yourself in the mirror and look at your body language and posture.”

During the actual interview, Gallo says to make sure to keep everything you say and do professional.

“Don’t oversell yourself or over-embellish because it will look like you’re lying or exaggerating,” he says. “At the same time, though, don’t sell yourself short. Try to share as much information as you can, but as professional as possible.”

3. Don’t forget to ask questions

“It’s very important during an interview to ask the employer questions about the position,” Gallo explains. “For example, ask how long the position has been vacant; who would your manager be; what are your main functions, etc.”

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Gallo says not only is it an opportunity to show that you’ve prepared for the interview, but it gives you the chance to see if this position is really right for you.

“It allows you to know how you’re going to be evaluated in this position and if there’s any career-growth possibilities,” he says. “This is something a lot of people don’t ask and it’s crucial to know that the position you’re applying for has potential for growing.”

4. Following-up the proper way

One thing to not do is avoid following up with a thank-you note or e-mail after an interview, Gallo says.

“Follow up courteously,” he explains. “Send the note about a week to 10 days after the interview. Don’t be too aggressive because you don’t want to seem too eager but make sure to tell them that you’re still interested in the job if you haven’t heard back from them.”

5. Never stop networking

Just because you’ve sent some CVs out or done some interviews, don’t wait to hear back before you keep searching, Gallo says. The best way to expand your search is by networking.

“Keep networking and doing your research,” he says. “Keep talking to people and keep trying to build up your network of contacts. You never know from where or from whom you’re going to get your great opportunity.”

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