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Don’t slow your job search down by making these five common mistakes.  Any of these errors can hamstring your career strategy.  If you’re making more than one of these mistakes, watch out for slow traffic ahead.

1) Not Networking Enough

You can’t get hired if you can’t get seen. It’s crucial to up your game by getting yourself out there.  In the digital era this means both in person and digital methods. Make sure your social media profiles are ready to go.  Utilize platforms like Meetup.com to find local groups that focus on your niche. Keep an eye on job boards, newspapers, and corporate websites to catch jobs before they ever reach the big job search platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed.  Put yourself and your job search out there.  Let your friends and your acquaintances know that you’re looking for work, and shine up your elevator pitch so you’re ready to sound great when you let the world know you’re ready to be hired.

Related: Networking Tips for People Who Hate Networking

2) Writing a Generic Cover Letter

Your cover letter must be personal.  It’s your chance to connect, human to human, with whoever is behind the hiring desk. Take some time to find the Venn diagram overlap between your interests and the culture of the company you’re applying for. Your cover letter is a good place to strategically place a few important buzzwords for your industry. Show you know the lingo for your niche before they even get to your resume.

A resume is written in the third person as if you are talking about someone else. A cover letter should be written in the first person, using pronouns like I, me, myself. This is your chance to tell a little of your personal story to pull them in and get them interested. Marketers know that people respond to narrative because it catches our emotions. Use this to drive yourself to the top of the interview pile.

Related: Cover Letter Tips: Let Your Personality Show!

3) Using a Template

A template will never be as good as a custom resume.  Each resume should be targeted to the specific job and company you’re applying for.  When you use a template, there is a strong temptation to just plug in the information like it’s a grade school worksheet. That’s not what recruiters and HR departments are looking for.  To stand out from the crowd and get noticed it’s better to steer clear of templates and create a custom resume that highlights your skill set and accomplishments. Companies want to know what you can do for them.  Target your resume to show how you are a performer in your industry.

Related: A Resume Template Doesn’t Cut it for Executives

4) Typos Will Slow Down Your Job Search

Yes, typos matter quite a bit.  No, you can’t just spellcheck and be done. There are a number of grammatical errors that spellcheck can miss, and sometimes it even gets the word completely wrong. There is no substitute for another set of eyes on your resume, cover letter, and other documentation.  After you’ve been pouring your heart and soul into your job hunt, there is nothing worse than typos to end your career journey. Scrutinize your words for errors. The time you spend will be worth it.

It’s invaluable to step away from your work and then take a look at your resume with fresh eyes.  Then, ask a friend or professional to take a look at what you’ve written to make sure that your grammar is spot on, your sentences make sense, and your paragraphs flow.

Related: Oh, the Mistakes I See! A Resume Writer’s Top 10 of Resume Errors

5) Not Researching the Company and Culture

In the era of the internet, there is every reason to spend some time looking at the webpage and social media of the company you’re applying to. That research can focus your resume strategy, guide your cover letter narrative, and help you create targeted questions to use in your interview.  Don’t slow down your job search by letting yourself miss this key element of good job hunting. On LinkedIn you can even reach out to employees and ask them what company culture is like, what people talk about around the office, and even what kind of attire is suitable for the job.

Related: How to Research Company Culture

Don’t let these indispensable aspects of the job hunt trip you up. Make the time and put in the effort to get all the details right the first time so that you’re focused, effective, and moving on the fast track to job success.

Good luck. We are here for you.

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