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Top 10 Job Search Mistakes

What Not to Do When Job Searching


What are the worst job search mistakes you can make? Some are major mistakes that can halt your job search before it even gets going. Others are small mistakes that, given a competitive job market, can be enough to knock you out of contention for a job. Be sure to avoid the top job search mistakes, so you're in the best position to effectively find a new job.

Apply for Any Job

Hands of man highlighting employment ads in newspaper
Roy McMahon / The Image Bank / Getty Images

There isn't any point wasting your time applying for jobs that you're not qualified for.  It's a waste of time, energy, and effort.  Instead, take the time to focus your job search and apply to jobs that are a match for your skills and experience. Then target your resume and cover letter to show the hiring manager why you're qualified at first glance.

Botch the Interview

© Iryna Kurhan

What shouldn't you do when interviewing? Here are a selection of blunders, mistakes and errors a candidate for employment can make. Spend time preparing to interview so these don't happen to you!

Don't Check for Typos

Copyright Alison Doyle

Check your resume, your cover letter, and every single email you send for grammar and spelling - even if it's just a quick email or LinkedIn message to a networking contact. Then do it again. Use full sentences and paragraphs, regardless of how you are communicating.  Writing job search correspondence like you are texting is a surefire way to knock yourself out of the running for a job.

Don't Organize Your Job Search

Copyright LoBoCo

Given how much email most of us get, it's really easy to miss a message or to forget to follow up in a timely manner.  Taking a few minutes to make a list of everything you're going to do to job search is a great way to get your job hunt off to a good start. There are free tools you can use to organize and track of all your job search activities.  Take advantage of them and stay on top of your job search.

Don't Have an Online Presence

Copyright LinkedIn

Most companies that are seriously interested in hiring you are going to use Google to find out as much as possible about you.   If you don't take the time to create an online presence, you will come up short when measured against candidates who have taken the time to build one. At the minimum, you should have a LinkedIn Profile that's complete with your work history and some recommendations.

Fail to Research the Company

Copyright Izabela Habur

When you go into a job interview without having researched the company, you're not going to have a clue about what the company's goals are, how you can fit into the organization, and what you can offer the company.  When you take the time to research companies, you will be able to find out everything you need to know about a company before you sit down for an interview. In addition, you will be a well-prepared candidate for the job.

Focus Only on Posted Jobs

Copyright Marcela Barsse

Do you have a list of companies you would like to work for? If you do, use the  Internet to discover information about the company, review open positions, and find connections to help you apply for jobs that may not have been advertised yet.  If not, get started on tapping the hidden job market, which are the jobs that aren't advertised.  A large number of jobs are never posted online and you'll have an edge if you can use a connection to help you find and apply for them.

Have a Negative Attitude

Copyright Paul Hill

Tired, discouraged, feeling like you'll never find a job? Did you hate your last job? Was your boss a jerk?  Keep it to yourself, or at least to yourself and your friends and family.  Despite how hard it can be, it's important to stay positive when communicating with networking contacts, recruiters, and hiring managers.  Nobody likes a complainer, even if your complaints are legitimate. So, do your best to come across as positive, especially when you're interviewing.

Hound the Hiring Manager

Copyright Jason Stitt

Nobody likes being bugged, especially hiring managers who are juggling lots of job openings, interviews, and candidates.  It is appropriate to follow up, and a thank you note can help enhance your candidacy, however, it's also important to follow up appropriately and be patient.  The hiring process can take a while and annoying the hiring manager isn't going to get you hired any faster.

Ignore Job Search Do's and Don'ts

Copyright Jacob Wackerhausen

Every part of what you do when you job search, including looking for job postings, writing cover letters, dressing for an interview, sending a thank you note, job searching (or not) from work, and using social media can make - or break - your job search.

Skip Networking

Copyright Jacob Wackerhausen

Even though job search networking is one of the most successful ways to find a new job, it can sound intimidating and sometimes seems a little bit scary. It doesn't have to be.  It also can be time consuming, but it doesn't have to take all day.  If you build a network a little at a time, it will be there when you need it.  Networking is one of the most important parts of job searching, so don't skip it.

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