Mistakes don’t go over well when you’re job searching. In a competitive job market, even a typo is enough to knock you out of contention for a job. Doing or saying the wrong thing at a job interview won’t help you get hired either. Ranting at your boss on the way out the door might get you a bad reference that will make it more difficult to get hired in the future. Job searching is all about being careful. Be careful about what you write, what you say, how you apply, and how you pitch your qualifications to employers. Done right, it will help you get hired. Done wrong, you’ll make your job search much more of a challenge.
Review some of the most common mistakes job seekers make so you can avoid making them.
Too Much Information in Your Resume
An objective doesn’t work on a resume unless you write one that shows what you have to offer the employer. Your resume should be about what you can offer the employer, not what you want in a job. You also don’t need to include 20 years of work history, your high school graduation date, or what you like to do for fun. You only have seconds to make an impression, so make sure it’s a good one.
Too Much Information in Your Cover Letter
The hiring manager doesn’t need to read about the personal reasons you want this job or about why it would be great for you. Your family circumstances should remain private. As with your resume, the hiring manager wants to know what you can do for the company. Keep your cover letter concise and focused on why you are the right fit for the job and worthy of an interview. Take the time to write a targeted cover letter and match your qualifications to the job, so the employer can see why you’re a good candidate.
Not Making a Match Between Your Qualifications and the Job
Job searching is a bit like dating. There needs to be a perfect, or as close to perfect as possible, match between the job and the candidate. It’s important to take the time to match your qualifications to the job description. It’s up to you to show the hiring manager why you’re perfect for the job. Leave the guesswork out of the equation.
Dressing Inappropriately for a Job Interview
Dressing inappropriately for a job interview works both ways. Being overdressed can hurt you almost as much as looking like a slob. It’s important to research the company and the workplace, or ask if you’re not sure, so you fit in with the employees that you will be working with if you’re hired. What you are wearing is the first thing the hiring manager will notice, to be sure to make the best impression.
Saying the Wrong Thing at a Job Interview
As with resumes and cover letters, there are some things that are better left unsaid during job interviews. The interview should be all about what you can do for the company if you were offered the job. Share the skills and qualifications that make you the ideal person for the position. Focus on making a match between yourself and the job, not on why you want it. Saying too much can knock you out of the candidate pool.
Making One of These Interview Mistakes
We’ve all had interviews that simply didn’t work out. Sometimes, it just wasn’t meant to be — even if you hadn’t blown it. However, there are some interview mistakes that are easily avoidable. Review this list of frequently made interview blunders, so you can be sure not to make one of them.
You Don’t Have Reference Lined Up
It’s important to have a set of references ready when you’re job searching. Employers are going to be checking them, and you don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute to find people who will speak to your credentials. Get a list of references ready to provide to prospective employers in advance, but don’t include them on your resume. Rather, create a separate list you can hand out to employers who ask for them.
Forgetting to Follow Up
Following up after a job interview gives you one more chance to make a good impression. People like to be appreciated and a quick thank you note, email, or phone call is a good way to show you appreciate the time and the opportunity. Following up also gives you a chance to mention anything you wish you had said during the interview.
Leaving Your Job on a Bad Note
You might not think it matters what you say on the way out the door, but it does. Prospective employers typically check references, and if you left your last job on a bad note, it could come back to haunt you.