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Most Common Job Search Mistakes You Need to Avoid

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Your career search is a significant factor in realizing your dreams after you wrote all those college essays and finally graduated. In a competitive job market, job seekers can have trouble landing a job for even a small typo on their resume. Mistakes are often the cause of people not landing their dream jobs. I had a job as a resume review expert and too many times I’d run across so many red flags on a resume.

It is vital for a job seeker to be careful during the job search as mistakes may make your search much more challenging. In order to avoid making common job search mistakes, it is important to learn from the mistakes that many job seekers commit. Yes, you cannot be perfect so the least that you can do is be conscious of how you carry out your career search. Evaluate yourself and check which of your strategies pulls you down by learning about common job mistakes and correct them.

Let’s get started.

Job Search Mistakes People Make and How to Avoid

Avoiding this job search mistakes may help you in sending good impression on your potential boss and to drive your career search in the right path.

1. Too Much Irrelevant Information

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When I was reviewing resumes I noticed how much irrelevant information was included. If you are under 30 years old, you probably only need a one-page resume. Anything else is overkill. Be sure to include your previous job experience and the bullet points should be related to the job you are applying for. You only have 30 seconds to make a good impression, so make it count.

2. Too Much Information on Cover Letter

Another terrible job search mistakes people make is including too much information on the cover letter. Think about it, if you were hiring for a financial analyst position, would you want to read about how the applicant volunteers at a dog shelter?

The hiring manager wants to know how your previous experience makes you an excellent candidate for the job at hand. Anything that you’ve done that demonstrates that, can be included. Keep everything else off.

3. Not Making a Match Between Your Qualifications and the Job

The job market is tough. Most companies on average receive a few hundred resumes for a posted position. That includes employees in-house who may also be applying for the job and already have the company culture on their side. How can you beat that? Well, your qualifications can. What you should do is look at the job requirements line by line. In your resume, for each previous job you had, tie in how your previous experience matches up the job requirements and description. This way, when they read your resume, how can they not hire you?

4. Limiting Oneself to One Type of Career Job Experience

Why limit yourself to one particular career job? Many job seekers who started working with a particular industry will refuse to check out other related jobs that they may be a good fit at. For example, if you have a Finance degree but took accounting courses in college, you can apply for entry-level Accounting jobs. So try to send your application to different companies to give yourself wider career options and a better chance to actually get a job.

5. Using Only One Search Medium for Career Search

Do not depend on just one medium for career info or career search. Try your best to harness all the resources presented to you. Do you know that only about 15-20% of job opportunities are found online? Most of the job hiring written on signboards, newspapers or are just passed by mouth? So what can you do?

Try following to help you with your career search;

  •     Use your Networks of Former Co-Workers
  •     Former Employers
  •     Professors
  •     Friends

6. Do Research about the Company

If you are looking for some career opportunities then researching the company and the place is very essential. It will not only help you in answering the questions during the interview but also important in understanding the job that you are applying for.

7. Avoid Personal Likes and Dislikes in Resume

Many people make the error of building a resume based on their personal liking. The most suitable technique for writing the perfect resume is to write it with your potential employer in mind.

Remember these tips in your mind when applying for a career job:

  • How will the employer see your resume?
  • Does your resume tell everything the potential employer needs to read?
  • Have you mentioned the qualifications that relate to the job you are applying for?

8. Wrong Impressions to the Interviewer

You are assessed and judged by the interviewer during the interview. So avoid sending negative impressions to your interviewer.

Following points may help you in sending good impression on your potential boss and to drive your career in the right path;

  •  Dress up properly
  •  Cut your fingernails
  •  Avoid slouching
  •  Have eye contact with the interviewer
  •  Confidently answer the questions
  •  Avoid moving too much

9. Not Following Up

Let’s say you have two candidates on paper who are the same. But come decision time, only one of them followed up with a thank you email to all the interviewers. It’s likely that that candidate has the edge given all things equal. So play it safe and send a thank you letter and you can include things that you forget during the interview. It’s very common for all interviewees to send a follow up thank you email so this is a must.

10. Leaving Your Job on a Bad Note

Don’t burn any bridges even if you disliked your last job. Your past can come to haunt you in so many ways. So it’s safe to just leave on a good note and give the standard 2-3 weeks notice. You never know who knows who, so play it safe.

These are the mistakes that you usually make in your career search; try your best to avoid them.


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There is no excuse for errors when you do your career search.

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Jennifer Scott
Jennifer Scott
Jennifer Scott is a freelance finance writer who’s always looking for a way to save money on her path to FIRE.

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