Avoid Making These 7 Huge Job Searching Mistakes

Job hunting is a long and frustrating process. The trouble is, some people make finding a job much harder for themselves than it needs to be.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for your first job, stuck in a job you hate, have recently become unemployed, or are looking for a career change, even the savviest of job seekers are bound to make a mistake here or there. Unfortunately, when you’re in the middle of a job search, the smallest blunder could be the difference between landing the position and being removed from the hiring process completely.

Here are 7 huge mistakes to avoid when job hunting, and how to avoid them. 

1. Don’t Keep It to Yourself

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Searching for a new job is a very personal experience. However, that doesn’t mean that you should keep it to yourself.

The time it takes most people to find a job is usually at least three months but can be much longer. With the help of friends, family, and professional networking connections, it is possible to reduce this timeline. Personal referrals and knowing which companies are currently hiring (or will be soon) can be incredibly helpful. So, you should talk to colleagues and loved ones to see if they can get you in touch with any of the right people.

Depending on your circumstances, you might consider hiring a career counselor when you’re looking for a job. Particularly if you need specific career advice, are transitioning into a new career, or need help with interviewing. But there are also several places where you can get free job search support. Use CareerOneStop to find an American Job Center, contact your campus career services department (if you are a student, recent graduate, or alumni), or search online to find a local career center.

These professionals provide a range of career services, including resources, local job postings, assistance with resumes and applying for jobs, and often host job fairs.

2. Don’t Apply Through Indeed Only

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The first place most people start their job hunting is with online job boards like Indeed. These are a great source of information that have been helping job seekers find work for years now. You can learn about open positions and companies that are hiring, as well as easily apply for jobs with one click. Many of these online job sites also offer job alerts and have a mobile app, making it even easier for people to apply for new jobs.

That being said, consider not applying for a position through the job search sites yourself. With the process being so easy, hundreds (even thousands) of people apply through sites each day.

For a better chance of standing out, apply directly to the company or hiring manager, if you can. The first place to look is on the company’s own website, for a career or join us page.

Be sure to carefully read the job posting, though. If it specifies how they want you to apply, you must follow their instructions if you want to be considered for the job.

3. Don’t Overlook the Job Requirements

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While you should remain open to job opportunities, you can’t cast your net too far. For one reason or another, there are some jobs that you simply will not qualify for. Instead of wasting your time, focus your job search so that you’ll have more success.

A lot of the time people apply for their “dream job” or positions they’re not qualified for based on the job title, hoping the hiring manager won’t notice. Unless you can quickly learn the new job skills needed, this probably won’t work out in your favor.

You have to carefully read the whole job description!

Many job postings have required qualifications and preferred ones. If you meet the majority of the required skills or experience (particularly the top ones), don’t talk yourself out of applying! You never know what a hiring manager will prioritize or be willing to teach you on the job unless you try.

4. Don’t Use a Bad Resume

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Most applications today are automatically screened through an applicant tracking system (ATS) first. Your resume and cover letter need to include the main keywords from the job description if you want your application to be seen by a person. These are the very first opportunity that you have to impress employers; you must make sure that it is the best that it can be.

A resume littered with typos, grammatical errors, and other mistakes is unlikely to land you an interview. This is why proofreading is so important. Make sure that you check your resume both on the computer and on paper to catch these errors. There are several ways to get free resume help, including simple things like using Grammarly or asking a friend or career coach for feedback. 

5. Don’t Skip Asking Questions During an Interview

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Most candidates assume interviews are just for the company to decide if they want to hire you, but it’s also your chance to evaluate the company. You can tell a lot about the company by how they handle the hiring process, and should be researching them as part of your interview prep.

But when they ask “Do you have any questions for me?” at the end of the interview, you’re answer better be yes.

Very few people go into interviews prepared to ask the interviewer a list of their own questions, and this is a huge mistake. This is your chance to turn the tables and see how the potential employer handles answering your questions. Ask about the company and its goals, as well as the position that you’re applying for.

While there are certain questions that you should avoid asking, not asking anything makes it seem that you are not interested in the job or that you didn’t prepare for the interview.

6. Don’t Post Inappropriate Content Online

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Before they decide whether or not to give you that job offer, most hiring managers will look you up online as part of their background check. Based on your social media presence, they will form an image of the sort of person that you are, which can influence their decision.

This means that everything that you post online must be appropriate for a hiring manager to see. You don’t want to be caught insulting your old horrible boss or bragging about your bad habits. If you can’t hold back, then you should at least increase your privacy settings.

If you don’t already have one, creating a LinkedIn profile is a great way to use social media and networking sites to your advantage. You can use LinkedIn to provide more details on your career development and professional accomplishments.

7. Don’t Forget to Follow Up

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After an interview, you can’t just sit around and wait for that all-important phone call or email. Instead, you need to be proactive and show the hiring manager that you’re genuinely interested in the position that you applied for.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to send a follow-up or thank you note, either in person or via email. Even the busiest people on the planet have the time to do this. By thanking the hiring manager for their time and reaffirming your interest, you will set yourself apart from all of those that didn’t bother.

Don’t Make Job Searching Any Harder

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Job hunting is tough enough as it is, so don’t make it any harder by making these easily avoidable mistakes. Ask for help, put in the effort, and do your homework – you will be starting that new job before you know it!

How to Make an Impressive Resume

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Submitting a resume is usually the first contact most people have with a company and is their first glimpse of you. By highlighting your marketable qualities, your resume tells potential employers that you are qualified for the position and provides proof to back that up. Learn the steps to make an impressive resume, that gets you hired.

The Skills Your Resume Needs

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With hundreds of people applying for coveted positions, it can feel impossible to stand out in a competitive job market. So how can you ensure your resume doesn’t get lost in the shuffle? The answer lies in one word: skills.

From in-demand technical proficiencies to sought-after soft skills, we’ve curated the definitive list of the top 25 resume skills that employers simply can’t resist.

Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.

1 thought on “Avoid Making These 7 Huge Job Searching Mistakes”

  1. This post took me back to when I used to work in recruitment about 15 years ago. I’ve seen these job hunting mistakes time and time again – especially the one where an applicant doesn’t tailor their CV to the job requirements. This is a must read for anyone looking for a job right now who wants to have an edge over their competition. Pinning for future reference 🙂


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