Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Do the right thing in job hunt

Career News Service -You think you're doing everything right as you begin your big hunt for a new job, or a first job, or something to do in retirement. The problem is that you've got to stand out from the others to even get a live interview.

So how do you go about that?

Kathryn Ullrich, an executive search consultant and author of Getting to the Top: Strategies for Career Success.

Ullrich is convinced most job hunters fall victim to the following ten missteps:

1. Playing the generalist card
Now more than ever, companies look for specialists, not generalists.  Develop a personal brand, distinguish your skills and strengths, and design your job search around specific industries and functions.

2. Bloated resumes
Employers don't read resumes -- they scan them in mere seconds.  Put your resume on a word diet and eliminate the bloat.  Odds are you can lose up to a third of the words without compromising the content.

3. Missing your target
Most job seekers are "me-centric."  Instead, focus on your target.  Know the job you're seeking, what companies are looking for, and how you can best present your experience.

4. Hibernating online
Most successful job searches are the result of networking, not online job postings.  Resist spending more time in front of your computer than you do in front of human beings.

5. Misguided networking efforts
The first commandment for networkers: Thou shalt not ask for a job while networking.  Why? Because the sole purpose of networking is to seek advice and information.

6. Preparing too little -- or not at all -- for interviews
Before every interview, do your homework on the company, from knowing the executive team to learning about key industry issues, trends, and competitors.

7. Missed opportunities on social media
The vast majority of employers and recruiters look at your profile online: Linked In, Facebook, and other social-media Web sites.  Have your online presence tell a story and tout your personal brand.

8. Weak communication skills
Communication skills can make or break a job search.  Many job seekers dull conversations by sharing too many details.  Others, on the flip side, share too little information -- glossing over their successes or sharing what "we" did without spotlighting their personal contribution.

9. Failing to put in the hours
Being a serious, successful job seeker is a full-time position.  Still, many people report spending "under ten hours" per week on their search.  Don't be one of them.

10. Going it alone
Flying solo, particularly in today's turbulence, is tough.  Form a job search team that meets or talks on a weekly basis.  Together, you can add structure, support, and a sense of accountability to your searches.


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