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.
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.
Use these job hunting tips to avoid being disqualified and find the best job out there for you. One that interests you, utilizes your skills, pays a good salary, and helps you live your life to the fullest.
Here are 7 huge mistakes to avoid when job hunting.
Avoid Keeping It To Yourself
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.
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 or a life coach 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.
If money is an issue, there are 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:
- Job search resources
- Career exploration tools
- Job fairs
- Assistance applying for jobs
- Resume writing workshops
- Local job banks
Avoid Only Applying Through Online Job Listings
The first place most people start their job hunting is with online job boards and job search websites. These are a great source of information that have been helping job seekers find work for years now.
They allow a job seeker to 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, you might 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 these job posting sites each day.
For a better chance of standing out, you should apply directly to the company or hiring manager, if you can.
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.
Avoid Overlooking The Job Requirements
While you should remain open to job opportunities rather than specific job openings, you can’t cast your net too far. Instead of wasting your time, you should focus your job search so that you’ll have more success.
For one reason or another, there are some jobs that you simply will not qualify for.
A lot of the time job seekers 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
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.
Avoid Sending Out Inadequate Resumes
Many job applications 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.
The resumes and cover letters that you send to potential employers is the very first opportunity that you have to impress them. Because of this, 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. Use Grammarly (for free), ask a friend or career coach to look at it to make sure it’s tailored to the specific job opportunities you are after, and ensure it passes the resume glance test.
Avoid Having No Questions Prepared for an Interview
Nearly everyone goes into a job interview prepared to answer the common interview questions that they might be asked. However, there is one that very few people know how to answer – “Do you have any questions for me?”
Job candidates must always go into interviews prepared to ask the interviewer a list of your own questions. These should be 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.
Avoid Posting Inappropriate Content Online
Before they decide whether or not to give you that job offer, most hiring managers will look you up online. 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.
Avoid Forgetting To Follow Up
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 letter 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.
Job hunting is a difficult process, don’t make your job search any harder by making these easily avoidable mistakes.
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.