On the hunt for a new role? Make your job search more effective and productive by avoiding common mistakes.

By doing so and learning how to job hunt productively, you could cut down the time and labour you spend scrolling job boards, networking, tweaking your CV, and sending out job applications.

Maybe you’ll even find a new job faster.

What do we mean by a productive, effective job hunt?

Many of us think that being productive is about getting as much done as possible, but this isn’t so. It is tied in with doing things efficiently.

What really makes you a productive job hunter is making what you do count to make it speedy and effective.

So, you want to focus on quality over quantity if you want to make your job search truly efficient and productive.

Forget sending out 100 job applications a week or endlessly perusing job boards and learn how to work smart, not hard, when it comes to your job search.

8 mistakes to avoid if you want to be a productive job hunter

1. You’re looking in the wrong places

By this, we mean 1. You’re not using filters on job boards to narrow down your search, and 2. You’re applying to jobs you aren’t qualified for.

Don’t waste your time scrolling through endless listings and sending tonnes of applications out for jobs without checking or caring if your qualifications meet the job description.

Your job search needs to be targeted and focused so that you can quickly zero in on the types of jobs you’re looking for.

Fix it: Look on niche job boards in your industry or use filters on wider job boards to narrow down your search. Use filters to search for jobs in specific companies, industries, or particular fields. When you’re using a search engine like Google in your job hunt, use keywords related to the job you want.

This will help you quickly find vacancies for the types of jobs you are looking for as well as those you are qualified for.

In addition, be sure to read the job description on job postings to see the criteria candidates need, once again to make sure you qualify.

2. Forgetting about keywords

Above, we briefly mentioned that when doing an online job search through a search engine like Google, you should include keywords that relate to the job/s you want to get.

If you’re forgetting to add keywords, you’re making your job search harder and more time-consuming than it needs to be.

Fix it: Include keywords in your search!

Keywords can be:

  • The job title of the role you are looking for
  • The specific industry
  • Relevant qualifications
  • Experience required

And so on.

3. Not tracking your time

Not taking note of the time you spend on each task related to your job search is a mistake that can cost you a lot of, well, time.

Fix it: Split the various things you need to do as part of your job hunt into clear, separate tasks, and time yourself for each as you do them.

Clearly set out tasks can include: applying for positions; updating your CV; looking through job boards; learning about the company; and so on.

This will help you manage your time as you can see which tasks are the most time-consuming and whether you should continue spending this time on them or put more time into a different aspect of your job search.

4. You’re not doing your homework

Failing to research the company and position you’re applying to means you likely won’t be employers’ top pick. Hiring managers can often tell when you haven’t done your homework and this will hurt your chance of moving forward in your application.

Fix it: Do some research on the company! You can use this information when doing everything from updating your CV to writing a cover letter to attending an interview.

Visit the company’s LinkedIn page and/or website and find out what you can about its core values, work culture, what it does, how it started, who it serves, who the MD is, and more.

This will show the hiring manager you are serious about applying and not wasting their time. You’ll also look like a proactive person who could bring value to the company.

5. You don’t take full advantage of LinkedIn

If you’re not using LinkedIn to its full potential when job searching, you may be missing out on all kinds of opportunities.

Don’t be a passive LinkedIn user – if you actively leverage it, it can help you along in your job search.

Fix it: Investigate all the tools and features LinkedIn has to offer designed for job-seekers and professionals. Look up people you know and request to connect with them. As well as this, request to connect with influential people you’d like to network with who may open doors to opportunities for you and follow companies you’d be interested in working for.

Some of the things LinkedIn offers for job hunters and professionals who want to further their careers include:

  • An option to add an ‘Open to Work’ badge to your LinkedIn profile photo to automatically let those who see your profile know you’re available
  • A job board with various filter options and a search bar
  • Suggestions of people to connect with and a connect request button on all profiles
  • Online networking events
  • A wide array of free courses in various sectors, from Business to IT and Creative. These courses vary in length and some are designed to teach you a skill from scratch, while others allow you to build on your existing skills. Some give you certificates upon completion and you can add these qualifications to your LinkedIn profile and CV.
  • A field on your profile to add your skills – fill this in and be sure to add at least five!

And more.

6. You aren’t networking properly

Networking well can open new paths for you that can lead you to new job opportunities, but if you’re doing it wrong it will be unproductive and make your job search inefficient.

Some mistakes that can make you a poor networker include:

  • No networking etiquette – Sending strangers messages in which you overshare or overselling yourself off the bat; not properly introducing yourself and what you offer; initiating contact and then not responding to replies; these are just a few things that will indicate to others that you lack social skills and professionalism.
  • Poor communication – Refer to the above and add to that messages filled with grammar and spelling errors to know what not to do when you reach out to someone on LinkedIn or email.
  • Making it a one-way relationship – No one wants to feel like they’re being used for someone else’s personal gain. If you’re seeking help from someone, be sure to let them know that should they need anything, you’d be happy to lend them a hand. It’s all about reciprocation, and even if they don’t need any assistance from you, they’ll appreciate the gesture.
  • Having zero patience – Networking is about building relationships, which means putting time into those you contact and slowly building trust and connection before you can get results.
  • Being too vague – When you make contact with someone to ask about employment opportunities, not being specific about the kind of work you’re seeking will make it harder for them to help you. Don’t give them a whole list of industries you’re interested in, rather tell them about the exact role/s you’re looking for.

Fix it: Take note of the list above!

7. burning yourself out

Stressing out about your job search and overworking yourself with applications, interview prep, cold emailing, and networking will end in burnout – which will certainly not make your job hunt productive.

Burnout and exhaustion will leave you with no motivation and without the mental capacity to be an efficient job-seeker.

Fix it: Take a break, and go easy on yourself. If the job search is taking longer than you thought it would, it can be disheartening, but stay positive and don’t take it personally.

Rest and recharge between your job searching, go do something fun, and make time for friends.

Remember your value lies beyond whether or not you are employed. Prioritise your well-being during this time, because job-hunting is difficult enough as it is.

8. Your CV is a mess

Sending out a CV riddled with mistakes or outdated information is a mistake that will get you nowhere with job applications. Your CV needs to be high quality, or hiring managers and recruiters will dismiss you as a potential candidate immediately.

Fix it: Update your CV with relevant and truthful details about yourself and your skills and experience, check your writing for mistakes, and get someone you trust to read over it for you and offer advice.

Now you know what not to do if you want to make your job hunt productive, think about whether you’ve been making any of these mistakes. Then, see what happens with your job search progress when you try and resolve them. Good luck!

CA Mining is an Africa-based mining recruitment firm providing customisable staffing and payroll solutions to projects across the continent as well as Australia, Canada, and Latin America.

We recruit local, diaspora, and expatriate candidates according to our clients’ specific requirements. Our services are offered across the entire mine-to-metals chain.

Speak to us about your recruitment needs.

Head to our job board to view the latest vacancies in the mining industry in Africa, Latin America, Canada, and Australia.