Job Search Mistakes to Avoid

By Alyssa Laffitte on May 8, 2020

Job searching is a big task. Unfortunately, people often make mistakes that can draw out their job search process. In this article, we’ll discuss job search mistakes to avoid.

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Your resume and cover letter are too long

Your resume and cover letters are likely the first impressions the hiring manager will get of you. They will need to look through many other resumes and cover letters, so they will not appreciate extremely long documents. In fact, instead of reading the whole thing, they will probably toss it to the side and not look at it again. The trick is to impress the hiring manager in only a few pages.

The hiring manager is much more likely to read the entirety of your application materials if they are appropriately short. For example, a cover letter should be no more than one page. Ideally, it should be only one side of one page. A resume can be two pages long, especially if you have relevant experience.

In other words, make your first impression short and sweet: keep your resume and cover letters to one or two pages!

Forgetting to tailor your resume and cover letter to each company

Another job search mistake you can make with your resume and cover letter is not tailoring them to each company. If you send a generic cover letter and resume to each company, you will not stand out. You will not appear enthusiastic about the job and the company. On the other hand, when your resume and cover letters are directly tailored to the company you are applying for, you will be more likely to get the job. For example, mention how the company’s goals directly match up with your personal goals. Tell them about someone important at the company you look up to. Convince them you will fit in with the company’s culture. Including these comments in your cover letter will let the hiring manager know you care about the company and the position. Forgetting to tailor your resume and cover letter to each company is a job search mistake you should not make.

Not including numbers

An additional job search mistake you can make on your resume is not including numbers. For example, if you increased your company’s sales or engagement by a certain percentage, include that percentage! Including these numbers is your resume allows you to be more specific and to impress the hiring manager. It’s much more impactful to say, “I developed a new system that increased my company’s profits by 20%”, than to say, “I developed a new system.” It shows just how big of an impact you had on your former company, and the potential impact you can have at this new company. In other words, it’s a job search mistake to not include numbers on your resume and cover letter.

Neglecting your LinkedIn account

Nowadays, more and more hiring managers are looking at online resources to recruit new employees. If you neglect your account on a professional website like LinkedIn, it could signal to the hiring manager that you’re not serious about your career. Additionally, the hiring manager will be infinitely more likely to hire someone with a LinkedIn account that includes an updated list of achievements, qualifications, and experience than someone who hasn’t updated their profile in years. Be sure to always keep your LinkedIn profile up to date, with a recent headshot as your profile picture. For these reasons, it’s a big job search mistake to neglect your LinkedIn account.

Dressing inappropriately for the job interview

The job interview is likely the first “in person” impression you will make on this company. A bad first impression could cost you the job, so it’s important that you make a good one. One of the worst job search mistakes someone could make is to show up late or inappropriately dressed for their job interview. (This is closely followed by a phone ringing or chiming in the middle of an interview.) If you are not dressed appropriately, you could look like you don’t care about yourself or the people you are about to meet. Clearly, making a bad first impression by being late or dressing inappropriately for an interview is a big job search mistake.

Not cleaning up your social media accounts

It’s ridiculously easy to do a quick Google search on someone and learn a lot about them. A hiring manager will almost definitely do a search on you, and among the first results to come up will likely be your social media profiles. One distasteful picture, Tweet, or Facebook post could cost you a job opportunity. This is why not setting your social media accounts to “private” and not cleaning them up is a big job search mistake. Before you graduate, be sure to scour ALL your social media accounts and delete that embarrassing content before a future employer sees it.

There are many mistakes people can make when job searching. But if you follow these tips, you should have a successful job search!

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