Common Job Search Mistakes

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mismatched shoesFrom time immemorial job seekers have made the same interviewing, resume, and salary negotiation mistakes over and over again. Many mistakes go unnoticed and leave confused applicants despairing and uncertain of themselves. Some job search mistakes are easily recognizable if you just know how to look. Whatever the reasons you aren’t landing a job, the following list can help you identify and remedy the surprising mistakes that you are making on a regular basis during your search for employment.

  • Your focus is too narrow-oriented on only specific positions at specific companies: Many applicants are of the mindset that once they get an interview they will always receive a subsequent job offer. For that reason, they don’t concurrently apply for other positions and, in effect, halt their job search until each application plays out completely. This is a huge waste of time due to an unfortunate myth. The more diverse your jobs search the less risk you take that a particular job will fall through. You should instead try to build a “pipeline” of as many opportunities as possible.
  • You do not pre-screen your references: This should go without saying, but recruiters point out all too frequently that applicants supply references who give feedback that reflects, at best, a mediocre employee. It is vital to make sure your references think highly of you as a person and as an employee. It is also wise to make most of your references be managers, as their opinion carries much more weight than peers.
  • You don’t portray a good attitude: No matter how hard you try to hide it, if you lack a positive demeanor, it will show in all of you communications with an employer, whether in phone calls or interviews. And lacking a positive attitude can lead to a quick dismissal as a potential candidate. As your job search time lengthens, this can be more and more difficult – so be sure to pay special attention to your attitude and approach each new application as a fresh opportunity.
  • You are too picky about job descriptions: Job seekers, especially those just out of college, are often eager to find their dream job and base their decision to apply based solely on that criterion. Instead of attending an interview to learn more about a position, this type of applicant dismisses the fact that interview experience is priceless and ignores the reality that there will never be a decision to make as long as there are no jobs on offer.
  • You mistakenly believe that getting a job offer is about you: Receiving a job offer has nothing to do with your need for employment and everything to do with what an employer needs for its business to succeed. Under this philosophy, job applicants may think that they are better candidates if they are open to work any available position regardless of qualifications, schedule, or work environment. This air of desperation actually makes an applicant less appealing since an employer is looking for how a particular candidate can benefit the company. A better tact would be to focus on one particular position and make a strong case as to why you are the strongest candidate for one specific job description.





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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.