Five out of six Americans plan to look for a new position in 2011, according to a survey by Manpower. If you are one of them, consider the 10 common mistakes made by job hunters and how to avoid them, offered by Kathyrn Ullrich, a Silicon Valley executive search consultant and author of Strategies for Career Success (Silicon Valley Press, 2010).
Playing the generalist card: Design your job search around specific industries and functions: specialize.
Bloated resumes: Employers scan resumes in seconds. Remove extraneous words and phrases to bring your experiences and accomplishments to the forefront.
Missing your target: Focus on your target. Know the job you're seeking, what companies are looking for and how you can present your experience to win people's attention.
Hibernating online: Get out and connect with your network and other people you encounter along the way. Share your 15-second "elevator pitch" with everyone, whether you're at a major networking event or a checkout lane at the supermarket.
Misguided networking efforts: The first commandment for networkers is: Thou shalt not ask for a job while networking. The sole purpose of networking is to seek advice and information.
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.
Missed opportunities on social media: Employers and recruiters look at your profile online: LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking Web sites. Watch the appropriateness of what you post online and take it one step further: Present your personal brand. You won't always have a chance to verbally tell your story (including any time spent between jobs) so tell it online and tout your brand.
Weak communication skills: Pick one area of communication that needs your attention, like listening, presenting, persuading or distilling messages, and commit to improvement. Take a class, hold "practice interviews" with a friend or career coach, or join a group such as Toastmasters.
Failing to put in the hours: Job searching is a full-time position. Don't be a part-timer by investing too few hours in your search.
Going it alone: Form a job search team that meets or talks on a weekly basis. Together, you can create structure and support for your searches plus help spur accountability.