I’m not talking about the big, laughable mistakes like showing up to an interview inebriated or inadvertently bad mouthing a former boss to his best friend. I’m talking about the small, seemingly innocuous, yet completely avoidable mistakes people make.
But you don’t have to be one of them. Use this list as a sort of checklist against these common mistakes, and protect your job search against painful mistakes. You should always avoid:
Typos on your resume
They make you look unprofessional, proofread with extreme prejudice.
Waiting for the job to come to you
You should be proactive, make a list of the top 10 companies or jobs you want and figure out how to go after them.
Relying on job postings
An online ad is going to generate thousands of responses. Instead, focus much of your time on networking to find those unadvertised positions.
A productive job search is a part-time job in and of itself, make a plan to follow with daily tasks to increase your likelihood of finding a great position quickly.
Lying on your resume
Seems obvious, but people still do it. In this internet age, it’s easy to be caught. Don’t do it!
Not casting a wide enough net
When it comes to networking, no one is off limits. Your parents’ networks, friends’ networks, old colleagues and teachers, everyone is fair game.
Sending unsolicited resumes
I don’t know anyone with a resume amazing enough to get them hired for a job that doesn’t exist, sending unsolicited resumes with no context is a waste of time.
Disengaging from your networks
If you’re between jobs, it can be human nature to tend to disengage from social networks, please don’t. Now is the time to stay active in your groups, professional associations, even hobbies so that you can continue to network.
Sending the same resume for every job
This is a good way to get yours filed in the round file (aka: the trash). Personalize every resume.
Talking instead of listening
When networking, your first priority should be listening. If someone asks, you can talk about the kind of job you’re seeking, but otherwise, keep your ears open more than your mouth.
Including random (or inappropriate) hobbies
Unless your hobbies are directly related the job you’re applying for, they just serve to take up space on a resume that could be put to better uses.
Failing to follow up
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, as the old saying goes. Don’t just wait for the phone to ring (or the email to ding); follow up.
Looking for “any job”
It’s important to be open to different types of positions, but deciding you’ll take any old job makes you lose focus.
Not following instructions
Hiring managers often include specific instructions in job ads to weed out people who don’t pay attention to details. Don’t be that person.
This doesn’t just apply to the interview, Sanitize all your online profiles, and be sure your email address isn’t something like “tequilalover69”.
Being unprepared in interviews
In this digital age, there’s no excuse for arriving to an interview unprepared, being late to an interview. Accidents happen, but you should do everything in your power to arrive on time and prepared. Set your alarm, check the traffic, plan your route, scope out parking, and arrive on time.
Not knowing your market value
The internet makes it easy to research an average salary for your position and experience level, allowing you to come prepared with a reasonable answer when the question of compensation arrises.
Not having questions prepared
Almost every interviewer will ask if you have any questions toward the end of the interview. So have some questions ready to go.
Not saying you want the job
This is so often overlooked, it can be very powerful if you are smart enough to actually tell the interviewer that you want the job and why.
It goes a long way.