If there were one habit I’d like to break, it would be drinking coffee in the morning, on the way to work, and when taking my kids to their events in the evenings; the family joke when we get in the car is, “Dad, do you have your coffee?” I’ve had this habit for so long that I can’t imagine a day without coffee.
Habits are hard to break. Taking steps to correct them take small victories, which eventually lead to winning the battle. Just as there are habits in life, there are also habits that develop in the job search. Here are five habits you as a jobseeker must break.
- Believing that a résumé is enough to land an interview. It’s not hard to understand why this habit is one tough cookie to crack. The message that your résumé is enough is prevalent in the job search, where misguided job experts say the first thing you need to do is write or update your résumé. And once you’ve accomplished this, a job is bound to come around.
- Shotgunning résumés. How you’ve been taught to deliver your résumé is old school. I’ve heard some jobseekers say with pride that they send out five résumés a day. This means two things: one, they aren’t tailoring their résumés to individual companies and two, they’re not leaving their computers and making contact. A few well-placed résumés are better than hundreds of unfocused résumés to no one in particular.
- Shyness. Another habit that’s hard to break for some jobseekers is following their shy self. Your shy self tells you “Don’t tell people you’re looking for a job, even your staunch supporters like your family and friends….Don’t network with other jobseekers or business people….Don’t ask your former supervisors and managers for a written recommendation for LinkedIn.” Your shy self has been with you while you’ve worked, so it’s hard to shake off.
- Using the Internet for the wrong reasons. This habit might be the hardest one to break: using the Internet for online shopping, playing Farm Land and Mafia Wars, Googling for the best deal on a vacation spot; essentially using the Internet for the wrong reasons now in your life. It’s a bad sign when I ask jobseekers if they’re using LinkedIn and even Twitter and Facebook for their job search, and they give me a deer-in-the-headlights look.
- Stopping a good thing once you’ve gotten a job: A story I like to tell about a former jobseeker is how when he started using LinkedIn, he wasn’t a true believer. Then he got a job and his activity picked up three-fold. I asked him if he was in the job hunt again. To this he replied that one should never stop networking, especially when one’s working. Some people tend to think all networking should cease while they’re working; they become complacent. Don’t fall into this trap.
Habits, like drinking coffee night and day, are difficult to conquer but not impossible. Once you turn your habits into productive ones, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and your job search will be more successful.