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Common Job Hunting Mistakes

  • Not taking action.
    Putting off decisions, phone calls, leads, writing, looking. Not doing anything constructive. Avoiding even thinking about doing something. Making excuses, limiting yourself, erecting roadblocks to progress, complaining and generally procrastinating.
  • Not reflecting enough.
    Not thinking about what is wanted, ideal, or possible. Jumping to the search and jumping too often to the wrong job, simply because it appeared first.
  • Not taking advantage of all potential resources while searching.
    Overlooking the assistance and leads that can be found in talking with friends, parents, professors, etc. Not using libraries. Hesitating to call people unknown to you.
  • Not exploiting skills and experience.
    Not understanding the unique value, strengths and marketability of your past.
  • Not being committed to the job search.
    Not making adequate time for preparing and searching; not giving it the highest priority. Hoping something will turn up.
  • Not empathizing with the employer's perspective.
    The employer has needs, timeframes, problems and constraints that may or may not be compatible with yours.
  • Not being positive.
    Underestimating the power of attitude on the process, the employer, and you.
  • Not anticipating and practicing for an interview.
    Not being able to relate your abilities to the employer's needs. Not role-playing and formulating a strategy for success.
  • Not following up in a professional manner.
    Thank-you letters, even after rejections, can make a name for you in what may prove to be a small, closely knit profession.

Reprinted from The Job Hunt, by Robert B. Nelson


The 110 Biggest Mistakes Job Hunters Make (And How to Avoid Them): An Insider's Guide to the Secrets of Successful Job Hunting by Hermann and Sutherland is a helpful book located on the Job Search Information shelf. Each mistake, why it can make a difference, and how to avoid it is discussed concisely in a few paragraphs or, at most, a few pages. Some pertain to entry-level job seekers; some to experienced candidates. Start with the following:

Mistake No. 1: Not Taking Job Hunting Seriously

Mistake No. 5: Plunging into the Job Hunt Without Planning

Mistake No. 9: Mass Mailing Resumes: Failing to Identify Likely Employers

Mistake No. 10: Failing to Research Your Chosen Industry

Mistake No. 14: Not Doing Informational Interviews

Mistake No. 16: Relying Exclusively on One Job Hunting Method

Mistake No. 19: Not Scanning ALL the Job Ads

Mistake No. 27: Forgetting the Purpose of a Resume

Mistake No. 29: Not Understanding How an Employer Reads a Resume

Mistake No. 33: Writing Only One Resume

Mistake No. 48: Failing to Proofread Your Resume

Mistake No. 54: Forgetting to List Your Job Accomplishments on Your Resume

Mistake No. 75: Using a Uniform Cover Letter for Every Employer

Mistake No. 87: Taking Your Time About Applying

Mistake No. 88: Keeping Your Whereabouts a Secret

Mistake No. 89: Not Keeping Records

Mistake No. 90: Not Following Up Your Application

Mistake No. 92: Not Preparing for an Interview

Mistake No. 96: Failing to Ask Good Questions at an Interview

Mistake No. 102: Ignoring Interview Etiquette

Mistake No. 106: Growing Discouraged if You Receive No Immediate Job Offers

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