Common Job Seeker Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

Learning how to avoid common job seeker mistakes can help you find employment faster. Here are a few of the biggest mistakes that every job seeker should avoid:

1. Not sending a cover letter

It may feel time consuming to send a cover letter and resume to each position you apply for. However, many resumes may be overlooked, especially if there is a lot of interest in a position. A cover letter is your opportunity to stand out and encourage the hiring manager to review your resume.

In addition to sending a cover letter with each resume, it’s also important to customize it. Address your cover letter to the hiring manager. Mention specific requirements or aspects of the position, and how you’re qualified to handle them.

2. Errors on your resume or cover letter

Errors or leaving out important details can be a missed opportunity for demonstrating your experience. Grammatical mistakes or errors on the cover letter can lead to the hiring manager not reviewing your resume.

3. Not considering your career goals

During an interview, the interviewer is likely to ask about your career goals. To ensure a good fit, most hiring managers want to choose a candidate who has an understanding of what they want out of a career before attending an interview. Consider ahead of time, how this position can provide you value and help you achieve your career goals

This knowledge can also help you narrow down positions that are most relevant to your career plans. Consider where you want to be in one year, five years, and even 20 years.

4. Not researching the company

Interviewers expect you to have a good understanding of the company and not just the position you’re applying for. They may ask questions that test your knowledge of the position and its primary duties. Failing to properly research the company you’re interviewing with can lead to you missing key points.

Researching the company ahead of time demonstrates your interest in working with the company.

5. Not asking questions in the interview

Many interviews conclude with, “Do you have any questions for me?” While you may be overwhelmed with the information already given, it’s always a good idea to ask questions. This further demonstrates your interest in the position and allows you to decide if it’s a good fit for your salary or career needs.

You might ask questions about the position, benefits, or even the company. It can be helpful to make a list of questions before your interview and memorize them.

6. Not notifying your references

If you include references, make sure your references know that they may be contacted. Nothing can ruin your ability to land a position last minute more than a reference who doesn’t know that you used them as one. 

Think carefully about who can best speak to your professional achievements and skills. Be sure to ask these references ahead of time if they’re willing to talk with a hiring manager on your behalf. Then, notify them when you’re applying to positions, so they can prepare.

7. Not knowing your value

Knowing your value can help you sell yourself in an interview. Evaluating your value ahead of time can also help you answer interview questions that relate to your compensation requirements. This is an important part of the interview as the hiring manager not only determines if you’re a good fit but where you also decide if the company is the right fit for you.

It is also beneficial to review the national average salary of the position you’re seeking ahead of time. You can gather this information from the Occupational Outlook Handbook by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

8. Not preparing for the interview

Once you land an interview, it’s time to transition your job search efforts to preparing for the interview. When practicing interviewing, focus on some of the most common interview questions and how to structure them. The STAR technique is a common approach used for behavioral interviews that involve responding to questions with a format that includes situation, task, action, and result.

You might also do a mock interview ahead of time, where you focus on answering questions and perfecting your body language. This is also a good time to test out the outfit you’ll wear when interviewing.

9. Not being self-reflective

Many interview questions relate to your skills and how they apply to the position you’re applying for. Some interviewees may make the mistake of failing to discuss their weaknesses because they’re fearful it will make them appear less capable. It’s important to have a good idea of your strengths, weaknesses, and skills you possess. 

Hiring managers are aware that all candidates have weaknesses. You can turn a negative weakness into a positive in the interview by focusing on the specific steps you’re taking to improve on them.

10. Not creating a career plan

Going into the job search process without a plan can lead to a lot of frustrations and unanswered applications. Before you begin looking for work, create a plan. This includes considering the type of positions you’re seeking, where you’ll search for them, and when and how you’ll follow up with each potential position.

11. Doing it alone

While the digital world has made it easier to find and apply for jobs online, this doesn’t mean that you always have to do it alone. Working with others can provide many benefits to the job search process. For example, you might turn to a trusted family member or friend to practice your interview skills. You might reach out to previous coworkers or college classmates to network and learn about new job opportunities.

There is a vast amount of resources available that can help you with your job hunting and interviewing. You can also turn to online resources to brush up on interview tips or to access formats for cover letters or resumes. Some people may even choose to turn to a career counselor or assessments to help them narrow down their career options.

Avoid common job seeker mistakes

Learning to recognize the most common job seeker mistakes, and developing a plan to overcome them, can help in your upcoming job search. Each job you apply for will differ, but many of the rules and expectations related to resume and interview processes are consistent. If you want to brush up on your interview skills as you look for work, or you need assistance in further developing your skills to make yourself a more competitive candidate, check out our wide range of available online classes.

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