4 Job Search Mistakes to Avoid


Every day, I see job seekers make mistakes in their job hunt. Many of them are basic proofreading resume bloopers. These are so common and so avoidable and so damaging, I’ve written a whole post about how to avoid them: Resume Proofreading Tips to Avoid Elimination.

But there are lots of other common mistakes besides typos and misspellings. In order to help you avoid them, I’ve compiled a short list of four avoidable job search mistakes.

Using Only One Job Hunting Strategy
I often hear of job seekers who post their resume online. That’s their entire job search strategy. And then they’re frustrated when they don’t get any “hits”.

While it is a good idea to post your resume online, that alone isn’t a strategy. Monitor job boards, join professional associations, network, volunteer, set up informational interviews, and follow industry trends and targeted companies online and in the news. Many of these job hunting tips are outlined here.

Create a comprehensive approach to your job search in order to tap into every opportunity.

Not Researching Enough
At the very minimum, prior to sending in your cover letter and resume, study the organization’s website and conduct an online search of the company and industry. This will help you to better understand the company, its challenges, culture, and major players, in order that you might present yourself as a just the right answer to their needs.

Before you interview, expand your research and review everything you can find about the company and industry. Prepare ideas of how you might solve some of the “problems” you discover.

Being Ill-Prepared for the Interview
Most job interviews ask several standard questions that cover a few themes:
“Tell us about yourself.” More on this in video.
“Why are you interested in this position or company?”
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
“What is a difficult professional situation you’ve face and how did you handle it?”

I could go on and on with examples of interview questions you can expect to hear. These are so common, you’ll want to have answers prepared in advance. This will demonstrate that you know how to conduct yourself professionally. Being prepared for the basic questions will help keep you fresh for the surprise questions, too!

Prepare answers to standard interview questions and practice them prior to your interview.

Failing to Follow-Up
Many of my clients are uncomfortable following up with a company after applying or interviewing. They don’t want to pester! I would never condone pestering, but following up with a phone call or email to ask where they are in their decision-making process is an important step. You might ask if there is any more information you could provide to help them make their determination.

Even if you’ve been declined the job offer, it is often a great idea to maintain the connection, checking back regularly—perhaps every month or two, to ask if your contact has any new information about the industry, would make a referral, or if there is any new way in which you might offer assistance or get involved.

The simple act of sending a hand-written Thank You card after a job interview will set you apart from most of your competition.

The job hunt is filled with challenges and opportunities. Avoiding these common pitfalls will assure fewer of those opportunities are missed. Happy hunting!

Fellow Missoulians, do you have other job search suggestions you’d like to share? Please post them in the comments section or email them to Jennifer@makeitmissoula.com. We’d love to hear from you!  Back to Work It blog homepage.


Jennifer Shryock is a resume writer and interview coach with Rainmaker Resumes. Her blog features Missoula job hunting tips, covering everything from the employer perspective to networking ideas to interview-winning resumes to keeping your sense of humor, whether you’re working or working to find work. For answers, send your work related questions to Jennifer@rainmakerresume.com. Make her blog a regular part of your job search.