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May 01, 2014
By TEKsystems


Now is a great time for professionals to consider new IT jobs. Companies understand that they need skilled, experienced IT professionals to make the most of their technology investments, and they are eagerly recruiting to meet this demand. Yet that does not mean that your job search will be a walk in the park. The most desirable IT positions will undoubtedly remain extremely competitive.

To help your chances of landing that ideal position, here are six job search mistakes to avoid.

1. Beginning without preparation
One of the cardinal rules for any job search is that you must be prepared from the very beginning. Searching prematurely will only waste your time and energy, and likely increase your frustration.

For example, IT World contributor Eric Bloom emphasized the importance of updating your resume. Bloom noted that in the past it was seen as ideal for IT candidates to put a "technical expertise" section at the top of their resumes. However, this is now seen as an outdated format and will suggest that you are out of touch with the industry, even if the skills themselves are up to date.

Similarly, you need to make sure that your social media presence is ready for the scrutiny that a job search is likely to bring. Most importantly, ensure that all information on your LinkedIn profile is accurate and reflects well upon you.

2. Lacking a strategy
Beyond this basic preparation, you should take the time to develop a job search strategy early on. As Fox Business contributor Heath Huhman noted, the lack of a plan can make searching through job boards and postings feel like an aimless trudge. The process will be more draining and less productive.

She recommended determining your career goals first, then creating a job search plan based on these objectives. If you know where you want to be a year, or even five years, down the line, you'll be able to focus your current job search on only the most promising, relevant positions.

3. One-size-fits-all resumes and cover letters
Just because you updated your resume before your job search began does not mean you are finished with this document. You need to modify your resume to match the job opportunities you are interested in, as Bloom explained. Using the same resume regardless of the specific position is a big mistake.

By changing the order, wording and even structure of your resume, you can improve your appeal to a given hiring manager without falsifying or exaggerating your career experience.

This applies even more directly to cover letters. It is not enough to simply change the date and addressee—you need to modify or even rewrite the content to explain why your knowledge and skills are the ideal match for the opening. If you do not, you will fail to maximize your chances of earning an interview, and may even come across as insufficiently excited about the position.

4. Networking in a group
Networking can play a major role in your job search. By attending networking events and job fairs, you can make connections that can lead to new career opportunities in IT, as Huhman explained. However, the writer asserted that these events can only prove productive you attend them alone, rather than in a group. She elaborated that people in groups tend to spend a great deal of time talking to one another, rather than reaching out to make new connections.

If you go to a networking event by yourself, though, you will be focused entirely on the task at hand and far more likely to accomplish your goal.

5. Being passive
Job searching can be a tiring, draining process. If your search drags on, it is easy to feel discouraged, and to lose energy. For example, professionals who have been on the hunt for a while will often fail to follow up on potential leads. This is a major mistake, according to Bloom. A missed follow-up will often result in a missed job opportunity.

Bloom asserted that if you find yourself choosing not to follow up on leads, you should speak to someone to try to develop a new strategy or alter your attitude so as to reinvigorate your job search.

6. Remaining closed-minded
As mentioned before, the job market for IT professionals is very welcoming right now. However, this does not mean you will have the pick of whichever position you want. You will need to compete for the most appealing IT jobs.

Given these circumstances, you can afford to be very selective in your job search, but you should not be closed-minded. If you set your sights too narrowly, you'll severely hurt your chances of improving your career, and will instead remain wherever you are currently for longer than you'd like.

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