10 Common Mistakes Job Seekers Make & How to Avoid Them

10 Common Mistakes Job Seekers Make & How to Avoid Them

As a recruiter, I come across a boat load of people who are making huge mistakes when conducting their job search. I made many of these same mistakes myself before entering the recruiting industry as they seem minimal and easy to overlook. Now that I’m talking with hundreds of job seekers on a regular basis I’ve gained some insights on things that can seriously hinder your job search. 

In this post, I’m sharing 10 of the most common mistakes I see job seekers make along with some valuable tips on how you can avoid them.


Mistake #1: Missing or incorrect contact information

This seems like a no brainer, but you would be amazed at how many resumes I receive that either has an incorrect phone number or email address or is missing it entirely. Before sending your resume out to a potential employer, make sure to double-check your contact information.

Mistake #2: Not keeping a copy of your resume on your phone

You never know who you might meet. Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready! I highly recommend keeping at least three paper copies of your resume in your car AND on your phone. I keep a draft in my email inbox with my resume already attached and I also keep a copy in my Google Drive (make sure you have the app on your phone). 

Mistake #3: No voicemail box

This is a mistake I see all the time. I call a candidate who seems perfect for the job. They don’t answer the phone which would be no big deal because I can always leave a voicemail, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes I come across candidates who have not yet set up their voicemail box. This prevents me from being able to leave a message letting them know I’m reaching out about a potential job opportunity. Before you start sending out your resume & filling out job applications, make sure your voicemail is up and running.

Mistake #4: Full voicemail box

Speaking of voicemails, something I also come across is full voicemails. Make sure you are clearing and deleting voicemails after you listen to them so that you can make room for new ones. 

Mistake #5: Neglecting your spam folder

Sometimes emails from companies are labeled as spam or junk and if you don’t keep an eye on your spam folder you could miss out on a great opportunity. I recommend checking your spam folder multiple times a day when job seeking.

Mistake #6: Forgetting to follow up

Just because you haven’t heard back from a potential employer does not mean that they aren’t interested in you. Recruiters and hiring managers have their hands full. We are communicating with multiple candidates, reviewing resumes, interviewing, checking references, and typically we are hiring for more than just one position. We are busy! Sometimes, we just haven’t gotten around to updating you yet. A good way around this is to send us friendly reminders which in return will keep you at the top of our mind. You can do this by email, phone, and even text. Remember, all follow ups don’t have to consist of asking for an update on the position. Sometimes, sending a quick thank you note after your interview & expressing your interest in the opportunity will do the trick. I recommend following up at least three times before you throw in the towel.

Mistake #7: Relying solely on online job postings

Online job postings are great but that isn’t the only way to find job openings. Remember, EVERYONE and their mama are applying to the same jobs you see on Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, Monster, etc. You also have to network. You are truly limiting yourself to some amazing opportunities if you don’t get out and talk to people! It’s all about who you know. Let your friends & family know that you are looking, go to local conferences & meetups, message people on social media, join job seeking groups – think outside the box. Some of the best jobs aren’t posted online!

Mistake #8: Forgetting where you applied

When you’re actively job seeking you are probably applying to multiple jobs a day. It can be difficult to remember where you’ve sent your resume & the last thing you want is to ask the hiring manager to remind you of who they are & what position you applied to when they call you. This is why it’s important to keep track of the places you’ve applied to. Notate the company name, position applied for, when/how you applied, company contact information, any other notes you feel are important. You can do this in a notebook, in your notes on your phone or even on an excel spreadsheet.

Mistake #9: Careless social media activity

Your social media tells a lot about who you are as a person, outside of your resume; and believe me – recruiters & hiring managers look at it. If you have pictures up of you abusing drugs & alcohol, talking ill of a past or current employer, using inappropriate language, vulgar photos – 10 times out of 10 you’re not going to get hired. Be careful about what you post! Do a thorough run-through of your social media & make sure your profile settings are private. In other words, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see!

Mistake #10:  Lacking confidence & positivity 

Job seeking can be a long, drawn-out process. Once you’ve been at it for a while it starts to become frustrating & overwhelming. I dealt with these same feelings of defeat when I was trying to get out of the restaurant industry which I touch on in this blog post. It’s important to stay positive, confident, and patient when job searching. Don’t let the rejection letters get to you. It happens to everyone & eventually, you will find the perfect job for you. Don’t give up and remember to acknowledge your achievements! A call back is an achievement. Completing 8 applications this week compared to the 5 you did last week is an achievement. A phone interview is an achievement. A new LinkedIn connection is an achievement. Celebrate your successes & don’t let the “no’s” get you down. Your “yes” is around the corner, I promise!

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