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Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Your Job Search

Five Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Your Job Search

There are already so many uncontrollable variables that factor into a job search and whether or not it's successful, which means you need to be on your game for everything that you can control. Have you applied for a job that you desperately want, but the hiring manager wants to hire someone from his own alma mater? That's out of your control. But everything from the way you job search to your résumé, cover letter, interview, and post-interview etiquette is in your job hungry hands. Careerbuilder came up with a list of 25 reasons you may not be getting a job, but I've whittled their sometimes too obvious observations down to five that I think are some of the most important of the bunch.

  • Not keeping track of your accomplishments: When you're happy with your job, it's easy to forget about possible future job hunts. You never know when you'll end up looking for new work, and if you don't keep a running list of awards, promotions and accomplishments, you might not remember them when it's time to update your résumé.
  • Only searching for the perfect job: Yes, your job search should be focused. After all, applying to every job posting that comes your way is a good way to waste time but not an effective way to find a job you want. However, if you approach your job hunt unwilling to accept anything less than the precise job title, pay, vacation time and hours you want, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

Find out three more ways you might be sabotaging your job search when you


  • Writing a generic cover letter: If your cover letter looks like it could have come from a word processor template, right down to the "To Whom It May Concern," don't bother sending it. Hiring managers look for a candidate who wants that specific position, not someone who sends out applications en masse. Write a new cover letter for each job application and include details specific to that company.
  • Forgetting you're being interviewed from the moment you walk in: Just because you're not sitting down at a desk across from the hiring manager, don't think you're not being evaluated. For example, employers will often ask their receptionists if you were nice them.
  • Not learning from your mistakes: Not every interview goes off without a hitch, so don't beat yourself up if you flubbed an answer or two. However, if you don't take the time to review each interview you go on, you're bound to repeat the same mistakes again and again.


Join The Conversation
graduatedsqueaks graduatedsqueaks 8 years
I agree with freegracefrom; I'm never sure if my cover letter sounds too generic, formal, informal, desperate, etc. And what do you do when they don't actually have a name to send your cover letter to? I can understand if the posting says "email your resume to Kathy Smith", you can write Dear Ms. Smith or something...but otherwise, it's a bit confusing. I end up just typing Hello, then continuing my coverletter.
hihowareya hihowareya 9 years
Yar...trying to find an actual 'career' type job, and not just working in the mall or something, is quite discouraging for this recent grad :-( It would be great if I could get paid for job searching, applying, interviewing, etc.: wouldn't that be amazing?!
Lilavati Lilavati 9 years
There are 20 more here:
KimBurnett KimBurnett 9 years
I'll take that wise advice, aimeeb, as I had another job interview today. I've been looking for awhile.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
As someone who just went through this I have to say trying to find THE job is harder than it looks and with the economy right now not THE best idea.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Great tips. The generic cover letter is the WORST. I'm with Nancita — I immediately sigh and go to the next one.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
Cover letters are the scariest for me. I never know if I'm saying enough or not, if I'm being too casual or not enough... You should have a group for cover letters like you have one for resumes, Savvy. :-) I'm always having to hunt down friends to give my cover letters another look.
nancita nancita 9 years
This is a really great list. I never even thought about #4 (being interviewed the moment you walk in) but that is a great point. And as someone who reads hundreds of cover letters, I cannot agree more! A snappy first sentence shows creativity and care; if the letter starts "Dear Hiring Manager, I am writing about the job..." I am immediately turned off.
juju4 juju4 9 years
My biggest pet peeve is when there are typos in the cover letter or the email that contains the resume. I won't even open the resume if the cover letter has obvious grammatical errors or punctuation mistakes. If you are trying to sell yourself and encompass all of your amazing qualities into a resume and cover letter, then you need to make sure it is perfect! If they don't have attention to detail, I don't want to hire them.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Great tips.
fashionhore fashionhore 9 years
I always review my interviews in my head to figure out what "new" answer or I was able to give on a question that may sound different than the masses also being interviewed or what I could fix for the next time around. Another way to ensure a near-perfect interview is to practice a few typical interview questions such as strengths/weaknesses, a time when you took a leadership role, or why do you want to work for this company. It takes time, but if you want to job it's totally worth it!
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years
jspeed jspeed 9 years
Great tips, thanks!
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