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.
Old habits are hard to break. Taking steps to correct them take small victories, which eventually lead to winning the battle.
Here are five habits you as a job seeker must break.
1. Believing that a resume 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 resume is enough is prevalent in the job search, where 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.
2. Shotgunning resumes. How you’ve been taught to deliver your résumé is old school. Job search experts tell you to send your résumé to as many employers as possible (shotgunning it). I’ve heard some job seekers say with pride that they send out five resumes a day. This means two things: one, they aren’t tailoring their resumes to individual companies and two, they’re not leaving their computers and making contact. A few well-placed resumes are better than hundreds of unfocused resumes to no one in particular.
3. Shyness. Another old habit that’s hard to break for some job seekers 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 job seekers 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.
4. 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 job seekers if they’re using LinkedIn and even Twitter and Facebook for their job search, and they give me a deer-in-the-headlights look.
5. Stopping a good thing once you’ve gotten a job: A story I like to tell about a former job seeker 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.
Old 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.
Bob McIntosh is a career trainer at the Career Center of Lowell, where he leads more than 20 workshops on the career search. He is often the person jobseekers and staff go to for advice on the job search. Bob has gained a reputation as the LinkedIn expert in and around the career center. As well, he critiques resumes and conducts mock interviews. Bob’s greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. These he considers to be his greatest accomplishments. Please visit his blog and connect with him on LinkedIn.