How to Avoid The 8 Most Common Job Search Pitfalls So You Can Move Confidently Towards Your Career Goals: Part 1

A job search is very exciting, but it does not come without its challenges – challenges that can stop you in your tracks, shake your confidence and cause you to doubt yourself, or tempt you to settle for much less than you know you deserve. Here are the first 4 common pitfalls and how you can avoid them:

Pitfall #1: Thought Paralysis

Have you found yourself talking your way out of multiple potential opportunities? You may have job search thought paralysis!

This can lead to hours of heavy contemplation and inner dialogue concerning each move you make in your job search.

Soon hours turn into days and days turn into weeks!

Don’t fall for negative internal dialogue! No one can know what company is hiring internally and you can’t read the minds of potential employers.

Countless times my clients have told me that their incredible job opportunity came from the most surprising place or out of the most unique circumstances.

The Solution: When in Doubt, Send Your Resume Anyway

Don’t assume you know what the company, other party or networking contact is thinking! Go ahead and send your resume.

Pitfall #2: Fear

Bill Briggs was the first man to ski Wyoming’s Grand Tetons. His friends told him it was impossible and that he was crazy. On top of that, Bill had a surgically fused hip. He knew he would have to reckon with cliffs thousands of feet high, falling rock and potential avalanches.

Regardless of all that, he took the challenge. Bill stated simply, “If there is no risk, there is no adventure. Adventure is a part of life.”

Your career – and certainly the wild ride of changing jobs– is indeed an adventure, and one that makes demands on your virtues, including bravery.

It is worth giving your job search 100% simply because you are worth the job you want.

The Solution: Face Your Fears Head On

Face those fears by taking small steps and breaking down your tasks. Create systems and celebrate small successes. Make a list. Do at least one thing right now. Do two more things tomorrow. Three simple steps will get you traction that will lead you quickly and positively to more action.

Pitfall #3: Perfection Paralysis

Feel like everything must be perfect before you can move forward? This is a common pitfall that can stop your job search before it even begins.

Your goal needs to be progress, not perfection. Although this might not be your motto in other areas of your life, when it comes to your job search, the key is implementation.

A client said to me once regarding making follow-up phone calls: “I just can’t get it right.”

Of course we all need a solid and effective phone script, but the secret isn’t in getting it right as much as just getting it done.

The Solution: Make a List

The best way to move forward is to make a plan regarding whatever project you are working on. Create a detailed list of each step you need to take. Now make a note of what tasks you can do, what tasks you don’t know how to do, and what tasks you know how to do but don’t want to do. Now you can figure out what you can start on right now, what you need to farm out to someone else, and what you need to hire someone to help you with.

Pitfall #4: Doing Everything Yourself

Not knowing how to do something often acts like quicksand and can stop your whole job search in its tracks.

Conducting a job search involves a lot of little parts and pieces and one of the reasons why it is so tempting to fall back on job boards is because it has a system. You do A, B, and C and then you’re done. And you feel like you have at least done something.

To avoid this you must make what you know you should be doing manageable. You must create a system so that your job search is turnkey.

There is also the mundane tasks that are associated with a job search. Have you ever figured out how much you make by the hour? If you make around 100k per year at an 8-hour a day / 5-day work week you would be making about $48 per hour. So, if you spending hours and hours trying to rewrite your resume yourself, printing out resumes and licking envelopes you need to ask yourself: are these tasks worth $48 an hour?

The Solution: Delegate

Sub this energy draining work out! Hire a resume writer. Go to InstiPrints, hire a virtual assistant or your own teenager and get them to help you with the administration for a third of the cost of you doing it yourself.

This way you can concentrate on the big payoff activities that are worth your salary.

This will ensure that these important tasks get done and you stay motivated!

Click here to read Part 2

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of and and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.