Happy New Year!

As you start a new year, Burchard & Associates wants to guide you toward success with your job search in 2015. Here are 5 common job search mistakes we see on a regular basis and a few quick tips to help steer you in the right direction. Enjoy!

Mistake #1: You don’t know what you want (or what you don’t want)

Whether you’re slogging through endless online listings on job search sites or working with a focused recruiter, you may be wasting valuable time without a targeted strategy.

Before jumping into a sea of job opportunities, define exactly what you’re looking for in a job (responsibilities, salary, growth opportunities, etc.). If you’re open to a wider breadth of job opportunities, then be sure to identify what you don’t want in a job. Sometimes knowing what you don’t want can be even more helpful and keep your job search pointed in the right direction.

Take the time to make a list of the top 5 essential factors that you must have in your next job, as well as the top 5 deal-breakers. While this list may evolve as your search continues, it will serve as a strong foundation from which to start.

Mistake #2: You’re not actively networking

If you’ve lost touch with former colleagues, or your LinkedIn network has gotten a little stale, it may be time for a boost. For your online network, spend a few hours reconnecting with your colleagues on LinkedIn and schedule time to catch-up offline. Then, work on growing your network by connecting with other colleagues, vendors, or professionals that you work with but may not be connected to online. By keeping your network fresh and relevant, you set yourself up for a much more successful job search when the time comes.

In today’s digital age, job searchers often rely too heavily on social networks to conduct the bulk of their networking. As platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter have made it so simple to connect with colleagues and other like-minded professionals, we forget to take the time to network offline face-to-face. Attend local industry and networking events, conferences, and other venues that will help you expand your professional network. By melding online and offline networking, you’ll cover all your professional bases.

 Mistake #3: Not diversifying job search venues

Similar to networking, many professionals rely solely on LinkedIn and job search sites to conduct the majority of their job search. While sites like Monster, Indeed, and other industry-focused outlets offer opportunity, they don’t offer a full spectrum of the jobs available in the market.

The best way to super-charge your job search is to expand your horizons and leverage as many job search venues as possible. Work with a recruiter in your industry to identify new job opportunities that align closely with your career goals. Also leverage your network to discover job opportunities that may not even be public yet and may give you a step up on the competition. Pair these venues with online job sites, and you’ll be in a strong position to conquer your career search.

 Mistake # 4: Sending out untailored resumes and cover letters

While writing cover letters and resumes is no small feat, it pays to take the tailored approach. Submitting generic, blanket resumes and cover letters increases your chances of getting lost in the sea of applicants. It also represents missed opportunity, as you are likely not highlighting the specific skillsets that each individual job listing is valuing.

For each job application, take the time to tweak your cover letter and resume to best frame your experience, goals, and needs in a way that will best speak to the unique position. This tactic will help you cut through the noise of other applicants and increase your chance at an interview.

Mistake #5: Your social profiles are outdated and unoptimized

Your public social profiles are often the first impression with recruiters, HR personnel, and hiring companies. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure your LinkedIn profile is current and complete.

While this is an entire blog post of its own, in short, ensure your LinkedIn profile’s Summary, Experience, Skills and other sections are complete and up-to-date and leverage relevant keywords for you industry. As your LinkedIn profile is searchable, using keywords that recruiters may be searching for is essential to making yourself as visible as possible.

Burchard & Associates specializes in accounting and finance recruiting across all business sectors, including manufacturing, retail, wholesale/distribution, healthcare, financial services, and more.