Are you struggling to find a job? Do you send off tons of application materials, but never hear back from hiring managers? Do you land the interview but never make it past that? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could be making mistakes that sabotage your job search.
To help you avoid self-sabotage, here are ten common mistakes that jobseekers make. Plus, I share solid tips on what to do instead. That way you improve your chances of finding your perfect job. I’m rooting for you!
1. Only Checking for Jobs Once
Is there a company you’d love to work for? Do you know that you’d be a great fit with them? You get excited and decide to try to work there, which is great initiative. But then, you check their job page and see that they aren’t hiring.
What do you do next? If you’re sabotaging your job search, you write the company off. You decide that since they aren’t hiring at this exact moment that you’ll never find a job with them.
Don’t do that! Check back frequently. You never know when a job will post.
Follow the company on social media and start building a relationship (in a non-creepy stalker kind of way). That’ll help get your name out there.
If you give up too soon, you may find yourself missing out on a great opportunity.
2. Submitting Incorrectly Worded Resume
In today’s marketplace, many companies are using software to run an initial scan through resumes. That means if your resume is an old-school one, it may not ever see an actual person’s eyeballs.
You need to use clear, simple language to communicate that you have the skills they need. Don’t include a generic resume. Instead, customize your resume for each gig.
Look at the job listing and use similar language in your resume. If they want communication skills, emphasize your communication skills.
Show how you meet their qualifications instead of merely listing your past jobs and education.
Keywords are important, so integrate them naturally into your resume. But, don’t think you are only writing for software. If you pass the initial screening, humans will be reading your resume too.
For more information, check out this post:
3. Desiring to Be 100% Qualified
Research has shown that there’s a big job searching distinction between men and women. Men will apply for jobs when they only meet 60% of the qualifications. Women tend to apply only if they meet 100% of the desired qualifications.
Does this describe you? If you’re holding back from applying unless you check every box on the job description, let me encourage you. Be brave and apply anyway if you know you can do the job.
If you know you don’t have the skills needed, then don’t waste your time. But if you have what it takes then send that application in even if you only have three years of experience instead of five.
4. Submitting Application Materials with Mistakes
If you don’t take time to proofread your application materials, you are making a huge mistake. Check your resume and cover letter for spelling and grammar errors, as well as flow.
It’s best if you can get someone else to read it for you, even if you’re already good with grammar. Ask a relative or close friend you trust to proof it for you. Often you will be too close to the material to catch errors.
If you must do it alone, take the time to read it aloud. This will help you see what it really says, and not what your brain thinks it says.
Also, make sure you are honest on your resume and in your application. Never lie when you are job seeking.
5. Failing to Research the Company Where You’re Applying
How much do you know about this company? Do you agree with their culture and values? Would you be a good fit?
Since one common question in interviews is, “Why do you want to work here?” research can help you prepare. Check out the company blog. Scroll its social profiles. What clues about the culture of the company can you find?
The more you know, the better prepared you will be when you face that question. And you might even learn that this idealized workplace isn’t so ideal.
6. Not Caring About Your Social Media Profiles
This is the year 2019. Hiring managers are absolutely checking out your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social account they can find.
So, if you’ve been busy posting:
- Complaints about your job
- Inappropriate content
- Political rants
…or anything else that will raise a red flag for a hiring manager, you are sabotaging your job search.
Take some time to look at your profiles through the eyes of a hiring manager. Does what you see make you think, “This person is crazy, I need to stay away” or “This look like a person who would be a great fit here.”
If it’s the first, take some time to clean up your online image. And going forward, remember that people really are watching. Anything you say on social media can and will be used against you.
So, proceed with caution and use common sense. If it’s not something you wouldn’t say in person, you probably shouldn’t be saying it online.
7. Kicking Back After You Apply
Whew! You worked hard to submit quality application materials for the job of your dreams. Now you can just sit back and relax, right?
There are several things you can do after you apply for a job. For instance, you can:
- Prepare for the interview
- Apply for additional jobs in case this one doesn’t work out
- Make a list of questions to ask in the interview
- Ensure your voicemail message is professional
These steps will help you be prepared when the call comes.
8. Talking Poorly About Your Previous Companies
I don’t care if your former boss was a jerk who burnt popcorn in the microwave every single day. Your prospective employee does not want to hear you whine and complain about your boss or your job.
If you whine about that job, you certainly will whine about a new one if you get it. And no one wants to hire a whiner.
So, keep the sob stories to yourself and focus on the facts at hand. Come up with a clear, non-whining answer to the question, “Why did you leave” or “Why do you plan to leave that job?” questions. It can be as simple as:
I am seeking to advance my career, or I was no longer finding my role as fulfilling. You might also say something I feel the desire to contribute more than I’m able in my current role.
Either of those is a diplomatic way to explain why you left your job. Remember – no bad mouthing your previous employers or positions.
9. Not Weaving Your Personality Into Your Cover Letter
Does your cover letter put you to sleep? If it’s boring you, it’s really going to bore the people reading it.
Don’t use a standard template or try to make one generic letter work for every job you apply for. Spruce things up a bit and let your personality shine. Write it in your voice, so it sounds like you’re sitting down over a cup of coffee. (But keep it professional, of course.)
It’s your first chance to stand out from the crowd, so take the time to nail your cover letter.
10. Focusing on What You Get, Not What You Bring
If you’re so concerned about the pay and benefits and not so concerned about why the company should hire you, you are making a big mistake.
The job interview is not all about what you get.
It’s about what you contribute, too. It’s about how well you’d fit into the current team and how well you’d perform the job they want to hire you to do.
It’s about using your skills and experiences to show why you are the best person to join the company.
Yes, there are perks for working there. And you should ask about them. But, make sure your primary focus at this stage in the game is on what you bring to the table.
I hope these tips help you land the job you’ve been waiting for! And if you can’t find anything yet, make sure and check out the job leads I share regularly. I love helping my readers find jobs.