By Pat Mayfield, for Yahoo! HotJobs
One never expects that a job search will last long until the weeks -- and months -- start ticking by. Plus, during an economic downturn, it may take even longer to find work. To better increase your odds of finding a job sooner, here are 12 "don'ts" to avoid.
1. Don't Rely on One Resume and Cover Letter
The longer the job search, the more tailored resumes and customized cover letters you will need. Your resume and cover letter should match your skill set to that particular job's qualification requirements.
2. Don't Expect a Response from Every Company
The days are long gone when the hiring agent would inform you that you're not the right candidate. Today, if the company is interested in you, the hiring agent will let you know.
3. Don't Harass the Hiring Agent
Do not make more than one inquiry into the status of your application. If they tell you they will get back to you, believe them whether they do or not.
4. Don't Expect Immediate Results
Finding the right job takes a lot of effort and time. Even when the company decides you're the best candidate, it may take weeks or months to get an offer.
5. Don't Limit Your Possibilities
Unless it's drastically lower than your job expectations, a lesser title, pay or benefits may at least get you in the door. Once you've landed a job you will have a chance to prove yourself. If at all possible, be flexible about where you can work.
6. Don't Get Discouraged
Discouragement is only in your mind. The reality is every day you look for work is a new day. What happened the day or week or month before is history. Shake off disappointments with a quick "pity party" and then let it go.
7. Don't Focus on the Rejection
Treat it as information. At least you know that for now that company does not have a job for you or that your skill set is not a match with that job or company. If possible, find out why you were rejected. The more specific the feedback, the more specific your changes and improvement.
8. Don't Compare Yourself to Others
If your colleagues are finding work faster than you, or you're in an outplacement group and you're the last one left, don't compare their situation to yours.
9. Don't Spend All Your Money
Pace yourself and your budget. Take a temporary or part-time job to pay your bills. Try to find something at night or on the weekends so you're available to interview during the normal workweek.
10. Don't Go Sloppy
This is not the time to gain weight, grow lots of facial hair or wear sloppy clothes. How you look is how you feel. Be kind and respectful to yourself.
11. Don't Stop Looking Until You Actually Have the Job
Because stuff happens, keep your job search going until you have a contract or start date. Too often, candidates stop looking once they have an interview.
12. Don't Panic and Exaggerate
If your resumes are not getting results, don't even think of lying on your resume or enhancing it with exaggerations. Character still counts.
[Pat Mayfield is the president of Pat Mayfield Consulting LLC, based in San Francisco and Pleasanton, California. She specializes in sales and marketing solutions.]