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6 job-hunting mistakes and how to fix them


6 Job-Hunting Mistakes You Are Making and How to Correct Them 

Finding a job is a challenge with its many unknowns, twists, turns, and dead ends, being ghosted included. There’s always the constant competition posed by the usual qualified candidates or a batch of fresh graduates to contend with. If you have one advantage, it is not to commit mistakes that reduce your chances of finding a job at the end of your search.

 Mistake: Not Knowing What You Want to Do

There’s nothing wrong with applying for many jobs; it becomes a problem if you are not interested in all of them. It may lead you to show up underprepared in job interviews and not pay attention to your resume at all. Companies can sense your lack of effort and be reluctant to take you in, given that they have a pool of talents vying for the same position.  

 What to do instead: Fresh graduates are pressured to seek employment right away. If you are unsure what to do after college and can afford some time off, take a gap year. Use that time to determine what you want to do for a living by volunteering, taking odd jobs, and gaining skills and contacts. If a gap year is out of the question because of student loans and other obligations, make the most of opportunities to discover your passions or interests while in the university.

Mistake: Not Having a Cover Letter 

Whether to send a cover letter or not varies by company. But just because company A doesn’t require a cover letter doesn’t mean company B does too. One big mistake is ignoring the role of this letter in persuading HR personnel to read your resume and schedule you for an interview. 

What to do instead: Send it as an attachment or in the method the company requires it. In anticipation of companies not stating to include a cover letter but may look for it nonetheless, use the text box in the job posting or the body of the email for your cover letter. 

Supposing that it’s your first time writing a cover letter, here are the basics:

  • Customize it based on the job.
  • Narrate your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments relevant to the position
  • Use a tone that fits the organization. 

Mistake: Not Proofreading Your Resume 

You only have six seconds to impress your resume on recruiters, whose expert eyes won’t miss misspelled words and grammar errors. This kind of mistake is hailed as the number one resume mistake per a resource put together by Harvard University’s Office of Career Services. 

Errors involving grammar and spelling raise questions about your communication skills and attentiveness. Your resume can get discarded for this reason alone.

What to do instead: Doublecheck the document, and run it on a spellchecker. Get a friend to help you spot missing articles, wrong verb tense, and so on. Proofreading your resume is just scratching the surface, as you’ll find out below. 

Mistake: Not Writing an Effective Resume 

Your resume markets your qualifications with the intent of landing you an interview. But if you are not careful, the document can contain a lot of wrong or unimportant details, discrepancies, and embellishments, which can be head-scratching moments or deal-breakers for employers. 

Sending the same resume, except for minor tweaks, to every company is not a good practice either. It implies that you are not exerting effort to show your desire to get the job.  

What to do instead: Work on your resume prior to sending it out. Write it according to the job description, optimizing it with the relevant skills and keywords. Format it well, and keep it succinct. 

Check that you have the employment dates, job titles, and other information correct and matched your professional profile and website. If you have little experience, find achievements that you can relate to the job or use learnings from your internship. Substantiate accomplishments with actual results. When writing your resume and cover letter, think of their audience and how to appeal to them. 

Mistake: Not Launching Your Own Job Search

You may be limiting yourself if you rely on job-search sites alone. Other job seekers are doing the same so that makes the competition more intense and bigger in scope. There are also cases when the advertised jobs have been filled; so much for wasting your time applying for the said posts. 

What to do instead: Do your due diligence. Tap contacts for any vacancies in their companies, and let them know you are up for a referral. If you have a dream company, check their careers page or look up their hiring department’s email. 

Also leverage your membership in professional networks like LinkedIn to connect with recruiters, headhunters, and business owners directly. Check job fairs and career events in your school too. The more strategies you employ, the more opportunities you can find.  

Mistake: Not Preparing for Your Interview 

Job interviews are supposedly stressful times with the presumption that you’ll be asked the toughest questions. Your nerves can get the best of you and cause you to fumble and forget the most important things. Your frustration can further dampen your mood and performance. And no, skipping the interview is not the best thing to do.

What to do instead: Prepare. Do your homework on the company, including their website and social media accounts. Understand the role and its requirements, and catch up on the most relevant trends in your industry. 

Practice with the most common and trickiest job interview questions so that you can frame your answers thoughtfully. This way you’ll still sound human and engaged before the interviewer. Ask questions to show that you are interested. Best of all, be professional and on time. You can also learn more about how to prepare for a job interview.

Make No Mistake to Get that Job 

Many things could go wrong in your quest to find a job, but many things could lead your way to it. Best believe in your talent, hard work, and a bit of luck to help you out.

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Aubrey i​s a writer and a regular contributor. She writes on topics on job searching and career development in hopes to provide better tips on job hunting and career development.

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