More Job Search Pitfalls (Part 2 of 2)

More job search pitfalls? Yes, here we are with Part 2 of the two-part article. The time has come to wrap up the “top 10” list of pitfalls I mentioned in my previous post. (Note: I can’t start the following list with #6, so I’m labeling each one at the end of the line.)leaping over job search pitfalls

  1. Ignore the current use of applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes. (#6)
  2. Fail to do your homework/research and prepare thoroughly. (#7)
  3. Skip the quality control aspect of your job search. (#8)
  4. Ignore your network except when you urgently need it (see #5 in Part 1). (#9)
  5. Surrender to discouragement instead of reaching out to those who might be willing and able to help. (#10)

How to Handle These 5 Job Search Pitfalls

So how can you deal with these “more job search pitfalls” that might sneak up on you and block your path to ongoing career success?

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Job Search Pitfalls–How to Avoid or Blast Past Them (Part 1 of 2)

If I told you that job search pitfalls lurk around every corner and will leap out to grab you when you least expect it, you might think I’d been drinking something I shouldn’t! On the other hand, what if it’s true?

Just kidding, but the reality doesn’t lag far behind my outlandish statement. You can run into a problem at any moment during your job search. That’s especially true when you fail to take that possibility into account in your job search plan.risk maze

You DO have a plan, don’t you? If not, you’ve already hit your first pitfall! Think about the risk you incur when you forge ahead with no plan in mind.

Sample List of Job Search Pitfalls

I came up with 10 items that show only the tip of the pitfall iceberg. For the sake of brevity, I’m breaking this post into two parts.

  1. Lack a clear focus or goal other than getting “a job.”
  2. Share TMI (Too Much Information) in your career marketing documents (resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, executive bio, and more).
  3. Apply for positions where you lack several key requirements.
  4. Depend on getting responses from online job boards.
  5. Avoid active networking like the plague (see #4).

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Great Achievements–Create & Celebrate Them

If you think your great achievements don’t amount to much, you might be selling yourself short. For starters, we often minimize or even devalue what we accomplish–especially when we compare ourselves to others. Other people’s lives and career accomplishments might appear to far exceed yours. Realistically, not everyone can reach the success of an Edison, an Einstein, or any other prominent figure. However, although you don’t have to aim for that level, exploring high goals can open your thought to exciting options.

Great Achievements Take Time

The old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” applies to any proposed achievement with large scope or difficulty. What’s more, a great achievement requires commitment on your part. How much can you put into it and how much are you willing to commit to it? For instance, if you hope to gain a promotion for career advancement, what will you do about that?

When an idea reaches the launch point because you’ve decided to put time and energy into it, you’re poised for success. It matters to you internally, whether or not it makes a difference to the world at large.great achievements take time

Here’s a small, personal example. My “to do” list usually has at least a couple of items on it I know I might never do. However, I keep them there anyway (which runs contrary to conventional advice).


Because once in a rare while, I take the leap and tackle a longstanding item—and I get it done! In other words, that idea’s time finally came. Does that rank as one of my great achievements? Maybe not, but it feels great, even if no one but me ever knows about it.

Make Each Day the “Best Ever”

aim highYou might not think that having your best day ever, every day, ranks in the category of great achievements, but in my book, it holds a lot of promise in that regard. It strikes me as an ambitious but worthwhile goal, one I freely admit I don’t always achieve.

On the other hand, if you strive toward that goal, you could end up having a “best-ever” day most days. That’s a wonderful outcome in itself, something to celebrate.

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Dictator Boss–How to Avoid or Escape One

Watch out for bosses who are wannabe dictators! Of course, if you already have a dictator boss, this warning comes too late to help you avoid that trap. On the other hand, you might work out a solution that enables you to escape from it. That’s better than suffering the misery of such a situation. the indignity of being at the beck-and-call of a tyrant. Rarely will you have zero choice to avoid or escape, but you might have to dig to find an “out.”

A Dictator Boss is Not a True Leaderpuppet-master boss

William Arthur Ward, a well-known writer of inspirational maxims, once said: “Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation.”

This fundamental concept merits thought and support. Your boss might not count as a dictator like Hitler or Putin, but  he/she could still make your professional life miserable. And that kind of misery can spill over into your personal life.

People sometimes ask, “What is dictator leadership:?” However, in my book (and many other people’s), acting as a dictator is not being a real leader. It involves ruling with complete power–no room for you to provide input or share your ideas.

What does a Dictator Boss “Look Like”?

I recently read an article titled “Is Your Boss a Dictator?” It includes handy tips for spotting traits that confirm the type of boss you’re dealing with and how to respond.

“Modern dictatorial bosses might not be as easy to spot as they were back in the 70s….Modern workplace dictators have developed ways to control in a more stealth-like manner, so as not to alert the suspicions of HR departments – making them even more formidable.”

dictator bossThe article also bluntly states what’s at the core of the behavior: “The common ingredient that binds all dictators is power. They use their position to control their subjects through the things that they need, want or fear.”

Some bosses adopt a clear mode of operation–squash any signs of opposition or independent thinking at the outset. Others might be more subtle about their approach.

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Career Success Strategy: What’s More Important, Your Career or Your Life?

In terms of career success strategy, what would you say if asked, “What’s more important, your career or your life?”

I hope you would say, “My life!” After all, you can have more than one career in a lifetime, but only one life.

In the end, it’s somewhat of a trick question. Most of us don’t face an either-or situation in this respect. We can have a career (or two) and still have a reasonable life. At the same time, you might already have discovered one painful fact. Career situations can force you to make tough choices-especially in the COVID-19 and (eventually) post-pandemic success strategy choices

Strategy Plays a Critical Role in Career Success

First, let’s take a quick look at what “strategy” means and what it can do for you:

  • “A plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim” (Oxford Dictionary).
  • “A detailed plan for achieving success in situations such as war, politics, business, industry” (Cambridge English Dictionary).

When you start to consider how to increase your career success, you might experience doubt because you see multiple choices.

So start by trimming the list of possibilities. Delete those that are clearly beyond reach in a realistic time-span and those that don’t strongly appeal to you. If you aren’t highly motivated to pursue a certain direction, the likelihood of success plummets!

Need vs. Want Decisions

career goals-need vs. wantNext, look at the “need vs. want” aspect. Your career success strategy must include ranking results you want to achieve in terms of whether you need them or would just like to have them if you can.

You might have noticed that job postings often contain two lists–the “must have” items and the “wish list.” Why do employers do this? Because they know they might not get it all. They start with essentials and add items to expand their possibilities.

Your strategy can take the same approach, but keep it “real.” Stretch goals that force you to step a bit outside your comfort zone can boost your career growth. However, wildly ambitious goals not grounded in the real world often don’t work out well.

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New Year Career Tips: 2021 vs. 2020

Do you need a few new year career tips for 2021–before the year is half over or more? If you want this year to look better than 2020 did, you need to do some thoughtful planning and action. You can’t expect better results to just year career tips to pursue

You could consider some simple basics, such as this advice from RobertHalf: “Get better sleep. Start a new workout routine. Practice mindfulness. As you make resolutions to improve your life, you might also find yourself setting some goals around your career, including exploring the employment market. But you can’t simply wish your way to a more fulfilling career. You have to work at it.”

New Year Career Tips to Start Off 2021

On the other hand, maybe your situation calls for a radical change of plans. This might require taking a long look at what you hope 2021 will bring and what you can realistically expect.

For example, an article on says that “this past year has brought tremendous change for so many of us—including when it comes to our careers. From layoffs and furloughs to paycuts and pay freezes, not to mention figuring out how to juggle remote work and daily lives during a pandemic, 2020 has changed professional life in profound ways. Given how tied our careers are to our identities, prioritizing your professional life is a valid and important goal for the upcoming year.”

tangled mess of 2020Briefly, if you don’t want 2021 to match 2020, you need to take action. Otherwise, it could end up looking like a tangled mess.

The Vault article proposes six resolutions to consider. That is, “I resolve to…”

  1. Find a healthy work environment.
  2. Make time for myself.
  3. Stay organized.
  4. Set boundaries.
  5. “Go for it.”
  6. Avoid distractions.

What Will or Can 2021 Do for You?

Let’s back up for a moment. Does 2020 rank as one of the worst years in your life? If so, you could feel as if you’re caught in a maze with no way out. However, you can take steps to change that puzzling picture and move forward.

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Successful Executive Job Search Strategies

What do you need for a successful job search as an executive? For starters, you need executive job search strategies that can power your search in the most effective way. In other words, you need a strategically sound job search plan that allows you to fine-tune your focus .

How Do You Conduct an Executive Job Search?

First, you treat it as a cut or two above the job search someone would conduct at a lower level. You aren’t competing with as many people, perhaps, but you do face competition that’s more intense. You need to ramp-up your efforts with that added challenge in mind.

If you’ve reached the executive ranks, you know the value of strategic planning in business activities. According to Wikipedia, “strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy. It may also extend to control mechanisms for guiding the implementation of the strategy.”Executive Job Search Strategies

That matches the approach to take for your executive job search if you expect it to produce a successful outcome–a new or better job. Online executive resource BlueSteps suggests one reason planning is important. They say “before launching your search, it is vital to develop a strategic plan to maximize your time and efforts: an executive’s two most precious commodities.”

What is the Value of a Planned Job Search Strategy?

Your search benefits from having a clear sense of direction and purpose. However, it also depends heavily on creation and execution of a job search plan tailored to your desired goal. Well chosen executive job search strategies form the foundation and structure for this plan.

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Grow Through Challenges–2020 in Review

Now that we’re finally near the end of 2020, a few questions have drifted into my mind and stuck there: Is this a time to regret what you’ve experienced and the career opportunities you might have lost? Or should you regroup and somehow carve out a better future? In other words, will you grow through challenges or just surrender and let them steamroller you?grow through challenges

I’m not pretending these questions are easy. They’re not. I also won’t tell you I have all the answers. I don’t. On the other hand, I plan to keep looking for answers because I could use some myself!

Do You Know How Challenges Help You Grow?

First, do you actually believe they help you grow? If not, you won’t find this post useful. Regardless of the size of the challenges you have faced this year–and may face in the coming months–growth opportunities exist. Sometimes that means you must make a choice. How will you respond to those challenges?

Whether you like it or not, challenges WILL come. The whole year of 2020 has proved that beyond question! What’s more, you don’t necessarily get to refuse any of them. If you don’t handle them–and wisely–they will handle you.

change your choiceSecond, you can focus on the challenges that have or could have the greatest impact on your personal life, career success, relationships, and more. Some challenges might represent less negative impact, and you could try letting them slide a while. However, taking on challenges can promote your growth and increase your sense of self-worth. So don’t postpone dealing with them unless you need to.

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