7 Job Search Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make

7 Job Search Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make

Has it been a while since you’ve looked for a new job? Even if it’s only been a short while since you’ve had to restart everyone’s least-favorite job of job hunting, getting a refresher on how to proceed in a job search always a good idea. Equally important is the subject of this article — what not to do during a job search. Take a peek at this helpful list of what pitfalls to avoid when embarking upon a new job search.

7 Job Search Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make

1. Thinking Hiring Managers Aren’t Looking At Your Social Media Accounts Before a Job Search

hiring manager looking at applicant social mediaBefore a single resume is submitted or a cover letter even composed, know that your public image online can completely derail your job search. According to a CareerBuilder study in 2017, 70% of hiring managers are looking through candidates public social media profiles. Just like how you dress to impress in a job interview and spend hours agonizing over what font to use for your resume, do not neglect to clean up your public image on social media before a job search. If your Twitter account is full of online flamewars, your political ramblings on Facebook are set to “Public” (you know, that globe icon?) and your Instagram is chock-full of kegger shots, your job search may be over before it had even begun. While you don’t have to be June Cleaver online for private accounts, take a second to log out and reverse-stalk yourself on social media before your job search. Whatever you find will factor into a hiring manager’s decision.

2. Job Search Via Application Shotgun Blast

shotgun blast job applicationIt can very tempting to put together a versatile resume, a somewhat vague cover letter, and like a shotgun’s shell, blast it like a semi-lethal mist of debris onto job boards near and far without a projected target in sight during a job search. While it seems like sound logic that getting your resume into more hands means more eyes on you and more callbacks, this is a pretty terrible tactic for a number of reasons. Firstly, putting together a resume and cover letter that you fill will meet the need of applying for a wide variety of jobs means that such a resume and cover letter will be tremendously thin. Hiring managers are looking for a fit for a position — not just someone who can fog a mirror. Secondly, there’s a good chance that one person is collecting the applications on the backend — one person you’re going to severely annoy. It’s not likely that your application will be taken seriously once it shows up for multiple jobs with a single organization. How can you avoid the temptation to shotgun blast a job board? By not falling into this next pitfall.

3. Not Fully Reading The Job Description

skipping stones
It may seem like skimming job descriptions during a job search is simply a way to save time and increase your number of submitted applications. This logic is all wrong. When you fully read the job description before applying to a job, you not only have more information to decide whether or not you actually want to apply for this position, but you’re immediately armed with what the hiring manager is looking for — why you are the perfect fit for this role. While it’s unlikely that every bullet point of a job description will fit you to an absolute tee, studying a job description will provide plenty of ideas of how to better customize your resume, your cover letter, and your application to that specific job during your job search. Think of the job description as your application cheat sheet — as long as you remember to also be honest with your feedback.

4. Applying for Positions You’re Less Than Thrilled About

applying to job you don't really wantIf you’re unemployed or just completely miserable in your current position, this job search pitfall may not apply to you as much. However, if you’re looking to advance your career with a job search, you can afford to be just a bit picky. Applying for a position you may possibly be able to land but that you lack a true passion for can be dangerous in the long run. Even the best case scenario is that you actually land a position that doesn’t challenge you and you grow to loathe your time there. Congratulations — now you have to forever explain a very short stinted job on your resume as well as be back to square one. The worst case scenario is that you may later find a position you actually want with the same entity only to not have your application taken seriously by hiring managers because of your past actions with the other position. Seriously, if you’re applying “just to cover all bases” during your job search, you’re wasting your own time, that of recruiters working on your behalf, and putting a terrible taste in the mouth of any hiring manager who may come across your name in the future.

5. Not Studying Up On The Company You’re Interviewing With

not prepared for job interview
In a rush to send out a slew of applications and resumes, you didn’t feel it necessary to study up on the company willing to take time from their busy schedules to interview you. This is a huge mistake in a job search. As the deck could be already stacked against you, not studying up on the company you’re interviewing with is the equivalent to flying blind. While you don’t need to know the name of every president of the company or who their Chief Happiness Officer is, understanding the mission statement of the organization is a great start. While you can afford to save some questions for the interview, sincerely strive to learn about the company before any job interview with anyone. What you can’t find out through a simple Google search or by looking at their social media will make for great questions for you to ask in the job interview. That is a great segue to our next faux pas.

6. Not Having Questions To Ask In The Job Interview

questions in job interviewSo, let’s say you customized your resume and cover letter to the position you applied for as well as sincerely researched the company with whom you have a job interview. In the interview, they ask you an array of questions ranging from your experience to queries about your management style. Suddenly, they ask you, “Do you have any questions for us?” Have you ever heard of the expression, “There are no stupid questions”? In this instance, that is a lie. While this seems like a time to actually get some of your head-scratchers answered, this portion of the interview is where the interviewer determines where your priorities lie. The questions you ask in this scenario frequently say more about you than your resume and cover letter combined. For example, asking “How will you measure the success of the person in this role?” will probably tell the one hiring for this position that you’re goal-oriented and want to make sure you’re meeting their standards. Contrastly, asking “So, what are the benefits like in this position?” tells the hiring manager that you’re more focused on what you have to gain from this position rather than your ability to serve the company. Research what are some great questions to ask employers in job interviews and then turn the tables — ask yourself these questions in the mirror, pretending to be interviewing yourself. Try to gauge what would be the motivation of someone asking you those questions. Feel free to bring in a list of these questions into the interview.

7. No “Thank You” Note Following An Interview…Even If The Answer Was “No”

thank you email after job interviewYes, it’s definitely a drag when you don’t get offered the position after a job interview, but that doesn’t mean your relationship with the company or the interviewer has to end. If they were willing to interview you, that means there was something about you that they liked and they were even considering you for a position. In the past, following a job interview during a job search, it was customary to send a hand-written note to the interviewer, thanking them for taking time out of their day to meet with you. While you could do this in order to make a lasting impression, sending an interviewer a sincere thank you email will definitely increase the likelihood that they will keep you in mind for other positions or if their current selection doe not pan out. Include details unique to that interview in the message so they know it’s not just a template message. Make sure to conclude the letter with your contact details once again and remind them that you’re still open to opportunities with their organization.

Do you have any other job search faux pas off the top of your head? Feel free to let us know in the comments.


Job hunting is rough, but you don’t have to go through it alone. The career professionals from OakTree Staffing & Training in Tulsa, OK can assist you in putting together a great resume, help you prepare for interviews, and even connect you with a variety of amazing companies. Reach out to OakTree to get started.

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