If you’ve been job searching, you know what an amazing tool the computer is. You can look for and apply to jobs 24/7 while you sit on your couch in pajamas. Perk! But if you’re not careful, the computer can actually hurt your job search. Make sure you steer clear of these three mistakes to stay on track.
1. You search job postings before you know what you want.
You don’t know kind of work you want to do, but you think, “I’ll just hop on the job boards and see what’s out there.” When you emerge from the rabbit hole an hour or two later, you still don’t know what you want to do, are discouraged about what’s out there, feel unqualified for anything good, just lost an hour, and are more anxious than when you started.
That’s the thing: searching for jobs when you don’t know what you want is usually driven by anxiety. You feel antsy and want to do something productive, but you’re actually just making things worse because looking at job boards doesn’t address the source of your anxiety: not knowing what you’re doing with your career and life.
If you don’t know what you want from your career, you’re much better off spending the time to figure that out instead of psyching yourself out by looking at job postings.
2. You only apply for advertised jobs.
You can find millions of job openings on the computer, and it may feel like you’ve applied for all of them. But if you’re only look at publicized positions, you’re missing out.
A few years ago, an article in the Wall Street Journal claimed that 80% of jobs are unpublicized. That number has since come under fire and lower estimates have been suggested, but it’s still safe to say that if you’re only applying the for the jobs you can see, you’re missing opportunities.
Instead of just using the computer to look for jobs posted, you should also be using it to research places you’d like to work and start building relationships there before they even advertise.
3. You hide behind the computer.
Most people think getting a new job is a numbers game: apply for enough jobs and something will work out. It’s not. It’s a relationship game.
Your resume may be the cream of the crop, but it’s no comparison to being in your presence, seeing how you hold yourself, hearing your laugh, seeing your smile, and hearing you speak. Get out from behind the computer and pick up the phone. Request an informational interview. Go to an open house. Meet someone for coffee. Make an appointment to get in the room.
The computer can help you figure out who to connect with, but you have to the connecting.
Remember, action that doesn’t help you reach your goals is just busy work. When you use your computer for your job search, make sure it’s actually helping.