Job Search Tips

7 of the Most Common Job Search Mistakes

Written by Peter Jones

You’ve been job searching for ages—whether for your first job or your fifteenth. But nothing seems to be coming together for you. It’s always possible there might be something you are doing to hold yourself back. If in doubt, check yourself for these 7 common job search mistakes.

1. You have tunnel vision

You find yourself getting caught up in only one aspect of your job search, like the resume, or interview prep. You’re failing to grasp the overall picture, which is what you need to do in order to really excel. Manage your job search well and make sure you’re devoting sufficient time and attention to all aspects of it, not just the one thing you think you have to nail. Trouble is, you have to nail all of it if you want to be successful in your search.

2. You don’t make your search a priority

You’ve got your job search on the back burner, thinking: if you stir the pan it once in a while, something will happen without your having to devote significant time or resources to the process. This is a mistake. There is never a convenient time to look for a new job. If you really want to find one, you’ll need to make your job search a major priority, no matter what else you have going on.

3. You blast out applications but don’t network

You’re blasting out applications by the dozens. You’ve probably applied to over 100 jobs this month, maybe 200. But you’re not getting any interviews. If you’re blasting out this kind of quantity, you’re probably focusing on online job postings, which is a mistake. You need to be doing the hard work of networking and building up your profiles on social media. You need to be doing more homework. And getting more face time in your industry. So scale back the blitzes, and make your job search smaller but much more targeted. The difference will be clear.

4. Your resume doesn’t sing

Remember, recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds perusing each resume before tossing them into the proverbial shredder. If you’re not making it absolutely easy for them to get all your greatest hits in those 6 minutes, then you need to revamp your resume until it sings. Showcase all of your best information up front. Use bullets if you need to. Don’t bury the lead. And above all, make sure your formatting is clear and easy to read—and can be read by the latest computer tracking systems.

5. You wallow in your weak spots

Cut yourself a little slack. You’re never going to be perfect. No one is. Stop fixating on what is wrong with you and start playing up your strengths. There has to be something you are good at. Go with that and have confidence in your abilities.

6. You repeat the same job search mistakes

Not learning from your mistakes will usually mean you’ll make more and more of them. If you keep running up against the same issues, then it might be time for some self-evaluation and humility. Figure out why you’re stuck, then rectify. Learning from our mistakes is the only way to really make sure we’re moving forward.

7. You’re doing it alone

Job searching takes a village. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Ask for help from your family, friends, and community. Take advantage of your support system. They’ll be useful in helping you mourn your setbacks, celebrating your victories, and sometimes even making valuable connections!

About the author

Peter Jones