Whether you need a new job or just want one, the job-search process can make even career veterans queasy. New research suggests that one reason for this is that nearly 60 percent of candidates have had a poor experience as job seekers at one time or another.
The Candidate Experience Study – which was conducted by the research firm Future Workplace and HR technology provider CareerArc – also found that, of those who had a poor experience, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) had an experience so bad that they shared it online or with a friend or colleague.
How can you avoid becoming part of these statistics? Here are several strategies to help you steer clear of a nightmare job search.
Avoid interview gaffes. Much of the stress of the job search comes down to interviewing. It's never easy to be on the spot when the stakes are high (unless you're lucky enough to thrive on pressure) – and the stakes don't get much higher than whether or not you'll get a job that will affect your livelihood and career progression. Knowing that many people find the interview process difficult, prepare sufficiently in advance by brushing up on what mistakes to avoid, from arriving late to being underprepared.
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Don't blow your digital identity. The fact that so much of the job search is now conducted online can simplify the process for job candidates by making it easier for them to identify and connect with recruiters and potential employers, as well as post resumes and showcase their talents through professional social media sites. However, there's a yang to this yin: one careless post can kill your chances of scoring a job faster than you can type a tweet. Avoid sharing anything that can be perceived as negative about past or current colleagues or employers online, and don't be lulled into a false sense of security based on your privacy settings.
Leverage LinkedIn. There's a lot more to LinkedIn than simply collecting random contacts. When you use this tool to network with intention, you can boost the power and potential value of your professional connections to assist you in your job search. You should also be sure that you're using the summary section at the top of your profile to your best advantage by including industry-specific and position-specific keywords, and feed your network by engaging on the site regularly.
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Know how to negotiate. You can mar an otherwise positive job-search experience by flubbing the crucial step of negotiating salary, benefits and other parts of your potential package, such as your title or the ability to work more flexibly. Savvy job candidates are aware that when it comes to salary, they don't have to accept the first number that the employer presents. To avoid leaving money on the table, be prepared to make a case for your value by researching salary bands for the level of position to which you're applying. This will help you ground your request in objective measures and supporting data.
[See: 8 Tacky Job Search Faux Pas.]
Recognize red flags. A job-search nightmare can easily morph into a job from hell if you fail to heed warning signs that you notice during the interview stage. Be alert for toxic types of personalities that you may notice around the office during visits related to your job search, including negative complainers, potential bosses with poor boundaries or those who show bullying tendencies such as undermining what you say. If you experience these kinds of red flags or get the feeling that the position or company just isn't the right fit for you, then you would be better off withdrawing your application for consideration and moving on.
Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report