Classic Mistake #1: Being Willing To Do Anything

Despite the weekly jobs numbers or the monthly unemployment numbers, the job market is still uncertain. These numbers are irrelevant if you're among the millions still struggling to find relevant and rewarding jobs. So, what can professionals start doing right now to find the opportunities they seek?

The first step is to stop making the classic mistake of being willing to do anything! This is one of the biggest mistakes professionals make because it sends a message that you are desperate. It also leads to underemployment because rather than commanding the job you are qualified for, you'd rather take anything to get a foot in the door. Unless you are a recent college graduate with little or no work experience, this approach can leave you underutilized and diminished. How you market yourself while searching for new employment is as important or even more so than your experience.
There are three ways to avoid making this mistake:
  1. Market yourself deliberately and confidently but be open to unconventional opportunities. When you market yourself deliberately you show you are focused. It's ok to say, "I want to work in a corporate setting managing client relationships," but don't say "at this point I'll do anything." Employers will be turned off if you seem desperate. Saying you'll do anything rather than being pointed but open shows that you wait around for direction from others rather than being proactive.
  2. Even if you're willing to do anything, make sure you offer ways you know you can contribute rather than waiting for the interviewer to tell you how you fit in the organization.  Ask questions about the company during the interview and then find a way to translate how what you've done in the past will bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the team. Do not ask about vacation policies or benefits until you're offered the job.
  3. Prepare for the interview. Even if your interview is scheduled on short notice, spend at least ten minutes beforehand doing research. Know something about the organization, its history, its industry and how it fits into its industry. It would also help if you knew something about your interviewer. With the internet readily available, even on the go, there is no reason to show up to any interview unprepared.
Lindsay Broder is the president of Key Coaching, a New York based career strategy & consulting firm.


Posted on June 17, 2013 .