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10 Common Job Hunting Mistakes You Need to Avoid

10 Common Job Hunting Mistakes You Need to Avoid

In this day and age, there are a lot of people looking for jobs. With universities pumping out hyper-qualified people in all fields, any little advantage you can get in searching for a job can go a long way. Avoid these 10 common job-hunting mistakes to get on the path to success!

1. Lack of Focus

Your resume should clearly tell a hiring manager why you are qualified for the position being offered. You may have been a great fry cook at that fast food chain, but that experience isn’t relevant to a job at a tech desk. Ideally you should have a few versions of your resume that are tailor-made for jobs in different fields.

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2. Typos

Proofreading your own writing is incredibly difficult. Your brain knows what you intended to write, so it will often skip over blatant errors that will jump out at anyone reading your resume. Enlist your friends to help you proofread your resume. Read all your emails backwards one word at a time. Doing everything you can to communicate clearly and without mistakes can separate you from the pack.

3. No Online Presence

There was once a time when you didn’t need to use the Internet to find a job, but that time has passed. Hiring managers will Google you, and the only thing worse than finding pictures of you doing a keg stand is finding nothing at all. At the very least, every job seeker should have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile with a few connections and maybe even a few recommendations.

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flickr via bpsusf
    flickr via bpsusf

    4. Not Doing Your Research

    When you finally get an interview don’t forget to find out everything you can about the company beforehand. Showing that you have taken an interest in the company and know about their mission and values will help prove that you are taking the opportunity seriously. Most companies have in depth “About Us” pages on their websites which are a great place to start!

    5. Only Applying to Job Postings

    If you walk through an apple orchard and only collect the fruit that has fallen on the ground, you are going to miss out on a lot of juicy apples still hanging in the trees. Don’t be afraid to be similarly proactive in your job search. Make a list of companies you would like to work for and email their HR people to inquire about current and upcoming jobs. Show them you want to be a part of their long-term vision and aren’t just applying to everything.

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    6. Not Using Your Network

    Part of knowing what companies might be hiring and which companies you actually would want to work for is talking to people with first-hand experience. Talk to friends and family working in similar fields and try to use your connections to get in touch with the right people. If you don’t know anyone working in your field, find some networking events and shake some hands. Who you know goes a long way.

    Eugene Kim
      flickr via Eugene Kim

      7. Bad Attitude

      Spending all day writing cover letters and cruising job boards with limited success is enough to frustrate anyone. However, it is important to stay positive. If you have a negative attitude about the entire job-hunting process, that will come through in your writing and in your interviews. Don’t take rejections personally and view each application as a new opportunity.

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      8. Being a Pest

      No one likes to be hounded constantly by an overeager stranger. Don’t spend your valuable time calling the same hiring managers over and over to stay on top of an application. One phone call to follow up is acceptable; anything beyond that gets you too close to the “annoying” pile.

      9. Unprofessional Email Address

      It may seem obvious, but an often overlooked element of applying to jobs is the email address you use. You may indeed use your sk8rboi87@hotmail.com email more than any other account, but it is not what your potential employers want to see. If you don’t have a university email to use, make a simple name-based account (firstname.lastname@website.com). It will make a world of difference.

      10. Botching the Cover Letter

      One of the easiest places to get lazy is on your cover letter. First of all, you always need one so never send in a bare resume again. Second, pay attention to what you are sending. If you are applying to a large number of jobs, you may use a form cover letter where you replace the company name and job title each time, but make sure you don’t miss an incorrect piece of information. Pay attention and proofread.

      Featured photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on March 29, 2021

      5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

      5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

      When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

      What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

      The Dream Type Of Manager

      My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

      I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

      My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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      “Okay…”

      That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

      I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

      The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

      The Bully

      My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

      However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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      The Invisible Boss

      This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

      It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

      The Micro Manager

      The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

      Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

      The Over Promoted Boss

      The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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      You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

      The Credit Stealer

      The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

      Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

      3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

      Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

      1. Keep evidence

      Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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      Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

      Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

      2. Hold regular meetings

      Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

      3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

      Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

      However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

      Good luck!

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