The days of the job for life are long passed. That means most of us are going to look for new employers (or clients) a few times during our lives. In fact there’s a sense that 18-36 months is about the ideal time in a job today; so some folks are going to be looking for new design jobs a lot during their careers.
Making the right impression matters and here are some of the most common mistakes made in job hunting:
1. Spelling and Grammatical Errors
We’re not suggesting that everything has to be perfect (we know from experience that something can be proofread 100 times and still have errors in it) but you must try to get your CV, cover letter, etc. in as good a shape as possible. If you find spelling and grammar difficult then find someone else to check your applications for you. Sloppy initial presentation will discourage any employer from taking things farther.
2. No Begging for Work
You do not need to tell a potential employer; “I need a job!” They know that. They know because you sent a cover letter and a CV. If you’re at an interview they know that because you showed up. Focus on what you can do for employers and don’t focus on what they can do for you. This is true even when you’re desperate; if an employer does hire someone they perceive as desperate you can be certain they’ll offer a lower salary than they would have otherwise.
3. Do Your Homework
Many years ago I was conducting an interview for a database administrator. When I asked them what they knew about our organization - he threw a file on a table and said; “It’s all in there”. I was completely confused and asked what he meant. He explained he’d printed out our entire website and it was in the file. I asked him if he’d read it. He said he didn’t need to – he had a copy he could refer to at any time. Needless to say he didn’t get the job. Doing your homework means doing your research on the client company. It doesn’t mean carrying around papers that you could do research from but haven’t.
4. We’re Not Friends Yet
We live in a very casual world where almost everyone uses first names and jokes at the first meeting, etc. but when you’re looking for a job it’s not time to be casual. Hold on to your professionalism no matter how casual the environment you’re in. The right time to kick back and relax a little is when you have a job. Over familiarity can be the kiss of death in an interview process.
5. Don’t Forget to Ask Questions
You should always ask for more information about the role when you have an interview or when you are engaged in any interaction with your target employer. You should, however, keep those questions focused on the company, the role and the part that you might play – the time to discuss benefits, packages, etc. is when they make an offer and not before.