10 Mistakes When Job Searching

October 21, 2021
4 mins

When looking for a new job, it’s important to begin with an optimistic mindset. But to achieve the best results, in the shortest time possible, we need to be aware of some of the traps that many job-seekers fall into.

1. Underestimating the time and effort required

We’re constantly told that there’s a skills shortage, and that post-Covid, it's a job seeker's market. But don’t imagine you’ll be able to walk into your dream job with no effort. If you’re targeting a desirable position, you’ll face tough competition, and you’ll need to be up your best game.

For a smart and efficient job search, be prepared to focus, and to invest a significant amount of time. Research shows that the intensity of your job search is positively related to job interviews and offers.

Success will come with effort. And that’s where many job seekers make their first mistake. They expect it to be easy.

2. Starting without a goal and a plan

You’ve made up your mind to invest the time and effort required. The next step is to define your goal.


- Which aspects of your current job do you value and want to keep?

- What are the must-haves for your next position?

- What would you be willing to trade? Perhaps a drop in salary, to gain some great experience? Perhaps a longer commute in return for higher remuneration? Lower salary for better benefits or working from home Being honest with yourself at this stage will save time and frustration caused by looking in the wrong places.

When your goal is clear, it’s time to work out how you’re going to reach it. Set a timeframe. Do you urgently need to find a new position or are you able to wait for the ideal opportunity? Allocate an appropriate amount of time to your search, and be disciplined in sticking to this. Consider how you’re going to track your efforts and evaluate your progress.

 3. Your search is too narrow

By limiting yourself to one source of potential openings, you could miss an opportunity you’re looking for.

Broaden your search as much as possible and explore different avenues to find what's out there. For example:

- Scouring job boards

- Getting in touch with recruiters

- Using social media – especially LinkedIn

- Approaching target employers directly

Your goal is to get to an interview with an employer who meets the demands of your ‘must-have’ list.

4. Your Resume is Too Generic

Recruiters receive hundreds of applications for every open position. Updating your CV once every few years just won’t cut it anymore! It’s something you should be doing for every application you submit.

When recruiters scan CVs, they’re looking for one thing – whether you match the requirements. To maximise your chances of being noticed, you’ll need to show that you do. As every employer is different, re-edit your CV to reflect exactly what they’re looking for.

5. Cover Letter Confusion

In these days of document automation in recruitment, many people think that a cover letter is not required.

Yet, when you’re asked to provide one, it can give the recruiter a snapshot of who you are, and encourage them to read your CV. It’s your first shot at making your application stand out.  

A well-constructed cover letter should make clear that hiring you will solve a problem for the company.It can make the difference between looking like a potential rock-star they can’t wait to meet or your CV being dumped on the ‘regrets’ pile.

Photo by Firmbee.com.

6. Relying only on online job postings

It’s all too easy to attach a CV to a job posting and press send.  Recruiters are flooded with hundreds, sometimes thousands of irrelevant applications – and those using scanning automation tools will filter out all those which don’t meet their basic criteria. Your CV may never be read by a person.

Instead, place your energy into using your personal and professional network to help you uncover exciting opportunities. The majority of openings are advertised internally before being posted online or placed with headhunters.  Data shows that you are 85 times more likely to be hired if you apply via a referral than if you apply via a job board.  Let your contacts know that you’re seeking a new opportunity - you never know whether they’ll be able to help with inside information about an opening, or even provide a recommendation.

7. Not being prepared for interviews

Nothing annoys recruiters more than an interviewee who shows up unprepared.

You may be an expert in your field, but what do you know about your ‘client’? Recruiters don’t have time to waste explaining to you who they are or what they do.

To impress, show you know what you can contribute, and be open about what you’re hoping they will provide for you. Use your resourcefulness to demonstrate how well you understand and fit in with their culture.

8. Putting all your eggs in one basket

It’s good to understand that when you go for an interview, you'll likely be in competition with others. No matter how qualified you think you are for the position - no decision has been made about whether to hire you.

That’s why, even if you are moving from the second to third interview stage with one potential employer, you should still  continue your search and explore other possibilities. Keep all your options open until the moment you sign a formal employment contract. At that point, it is good practice to inform anyone else who has shown interest in you that you are no longer available.

9. No follow up after an interview

Be courteous and professional with a brief thank you note after all interviews – even those that didn’t go well.  But don’t attempt to push for feedback or rush their decision. It won’t work and it looks desperate.

10. Not reviewing your plan

No matter how long your job search takes, schedule regular reviews, work out what's helped you move towards your goal, what feedback you've received, and adjust your approach accordingly. If you have a mentor or a coach to talk it over with, that’s a brilliant way to keep on track.

To conclude,, as you embark on your job search stay focussed, replace the traps above with strategies for success, and get ready to shine!

For some great information about how to plan your job search funnel effectively, why not check out our previous article HERE or you can click below and sign up to Wojo!

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