Resume handover

Are you making any of these job hunting mistakes?

Virginia’s unemployment rate may be getting better, but for individuals in hourly jobs looking for full time work or people looking for a better career, applying for jobs and interviewing are an everyday occurrence. If you find yourself going through the motions but not landing that new job, make sure you’re not doing one of these job-hunting mistakes. 

Not preparing for the interview 

Every interview may be slightly different, but every interview is the same in that you are having a face-to-face conversation with a potential employer. And chances are, some of the same questions will be asked in all interviews, for example, the infamous, “Tell us about yourself.” 

“So often students have not rehearsed answers to interview questions until they are in the interview,” said Constance Peay, a career coach at Rappahannock Community College. “For example, ‘Why do you want to work here? Why should I hire you? What are your strengths, weaknesses?” 

Lisa Wolfe, the coach at Camp Community College, seconds practicing for interviews, but also has another important piece of advice: 

“Students need to have eye contact with the interviewer!” 

Underselling, or not selling, yourself 

You may be interviewing for a job to work under someone, but at the end of the day, you’re selling yourself for the position. Having the confidence in your skills and abilities is the first step to selling yourself in an interview, according to Meghan Copenhaver – the career coach at Virginia Highlands Community College, but putting yourself in the shoes of your interviewer helps, too. 

“A job seeker must realize they are trying to sell what they can do as an employee for a given employer, not so much what the employer can do for him or her,” said Mary Pat Hudgins, the career coach at Community College Workforce Alliance

Skipping best practices 

One of the easiest ways to ensure your resume doesn’t end up in the trash is to make sure you’re up to speed on what needs to be included (and what really needs to be cut out). Job hunters should also be careful about what they say in an interview, so they don’t talk themselves out of a job. Career coach Alyssa Hawley from Patrick Henry Community College has a great summary of the common mistakes she sees students make. 

“Resumes are far too long, students will talk about their personal life when asked to ‘tell me about yourself’ in an interview (which can trigger biases in the employer), personal addresses should be left off and you no longer need to put ‘references upon request’ on the bottom.” 

Are you looking for more support when it comes to the job hunt? Training at your local community college gives you access to campus support and career coaching services. Reach out through FastForward to sign-up for training and take the first step towards a new career.

Editor’s Note: At the time of publishing, Patrick & Henry Community College was named Patrick Henry Community College.