Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid While Seeking a Job

I am fairly certain that there’s one 10 out of 10 that none of us want to score. That top score is making all the Top 10 Mistakes that Jobseekers make based on my recent discussions. None of us set out to make mistakes when we are job searching but I am sure we all do. Mistakes such as interviews which get off to a bad start by us addressing the interviewer by the wrong name, or going completely blank when we are asked for basic information, or by appearing too eager which some say can come across as desperation.

From my discussions recently, as I have been focusing on my job search activity it seems that some job seekers make the same mistakes time and again. So below are the top 10 mistakes made by job seekers and how you can avoid making those same errors.

The Generic Resume/CV

The first mistake that a lot of job seekers seem to make is sending out resumes (or CVs as we call them in the UK) in a generic way. Whether through online websites, email or snail mail. It’s all too easy, especially with online job sites to simply click “apply” and send the same resume for every job.

Instead always look to customise your application (both CV and Cover Letter) to address the specific requirements of the role you are applying for.

Outdated Information

The second mistake is having outdated information on your CV and not including appropriate changes, new information, qualifications etc.

Instead you need to take the time to have a professional looking CV which includes keywords related to your roles and the roles you are applying for. If you can’t do it yourself or you want to know what is currently working then it is worthwhile talking to a professional CV writer. In some instances, your CV is the only shoe you will get in the door of the company. You want it to look as brightly polished as possible don’t you.

Spelling Errors

The third mistake job seekers often make is having grammar or spelling mistakes in resumes, on the cover letter or in correspondence with the company. If grammar and spelling isn’t your strong point, then do ask someone you know is good at it to proofread it for you. Even with spell checkers you may still get mistakes.

Dressed Inappropriately

The fourth mistake people make is showing up for an interview dressed inappropriately. Personally I take the default position of always wearing a suit and tie even if you know that the company has a casual approach to dress in the office. You want your image to say, “I’m a hardworking professional” who values the fact that you are interviewing me for this role.

Lame Excuses

There are going to be situations which make you late even if you have done everything you could to make sure that you were there on time. I can well remember going for an interview in the centre of Manchester, arriving early and then as I approached the offices of the organisation that was interviewing me discovering a “police incident” which meant that the offices were inaccesible! You might have though that the organisation would have tried to call me to warn me but they hadn’t. However, because I was well prepared I had the recruiting manager’s and the recruiter’s mobile ‘phone numbers stored in my ‘phone and I called both to let them know I was in the vicinity but couldn’t get through. That counted in my favour when it came to the re-arranged interview.

However, I have also interviewed people who have made the fifth mistake of offering lame excuses for being late for the interview. If you are late and haven’t been able to call to let them know, apologise and if you have a legitimate reason then of course give it. However, if it’s because you couldn’t find their offices, then I have to say that’s not a good reason for being late! Make sure you look up directions ahead of time, telephone the reception of the offices beforehand if need be and check where they are (especially if it’s in a newly developed area of the town or city) and make sure that you give yourself additional time to get there.

Taking The Opportunity to Rant!

When I was interviewing one of the things that frequently surprised me was the number of people who made the sixth mistake of taking an interview as the opportunity to rant about their previous employer. When asked about leaving your current or former job, however you might feel about them do not on a rant about your last boss or previous company. No matter how awful it was or is, you really need to stay professional.

Salary Discussions

The seventh mistake job seekers sometimes make is to start asking about salaries too early in the process. Assuming that you responded to an advertisement that gave a salary range then you should know that you are applying for a role that will pay in the region of what you are looking for. I am very aware that there seems to be a growing tendency to advertise roles without a salary range and that can be frustrating. I know that I have seen roles advertised that appear to want the candidates to be super heroes with more skills and experience than you could imagine without any mention of the salary range. It then transpires that they don’t want to pay at the level you would expect for the role. Why do companies do that? Lots of reasons but that’s for another article!

For now, let’s just focus on the fact that I would recommend that you should only start to discuss salary options after learning about the job requirements and when the organisation is looking to make you an offer, not before. You should focus on what you can do to catapult the company forward, not just on the salary payment and benefits.

Lack of Preparation

The eighth mistake many job seekers make is failing to do their homework on the company they are applying to. In my opinion this really is unforgiveable as it indicates to the interviewer that you are not that interested in the organisation. As a minimum you need to review the company’s website, social media accounts, press releases etc. and try to gain an understanding of how they operate and what their future plans are. By doing this you will then gain insight into the organisation which will put you in a better position to convey how you will add value, bring skills that they can use and hopefully fit in perfectly.

Overplaying What You Have Done

The ninth mistake that people make is lying on a job application or padding a CV. As an interviewer it becomes very obvious to you that someone has not got the experience they claim in their CV when you start to probe a little about what they as an individual actually did rather that what the team they worked within did. Let your experience speak for itself and if you don’t have experience, just be honest about why you’d like to work for the company and start out learning from them.

Not Networking

Finally, the tenth mistake that some people make and one which can stop them finding a job as fast as they would like is failing to actively network. I know that it can be all too easy to get caught up in all the activity of your current role and not have the time to network with others. However, your networking contacts can be be a great source of advice and help when you are looking for that next role. Nowadays with sites such as LinkedIn (you will find me at Paul Duxbury) it is very easy to start building a network of contacts.

So how many did you score out of 10? I hope it was zero but if you did identify some areas that you could do more about then today’s the day to start addressing those issues.

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