Job Seeker Failures

Nancy Anderson
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Hiring managers often sift through numerous resumes for a single position, looking for ways to narrow down the candidate pool. Jobseekers who go about the process in the wrong way risk getting their applications tossed out immediately. Avoiding common jobseeker failures can shape you into a more appealing applicant.

Indiscriminate Applications

Applying to any and every job you find is one of the most common jobseeker failures — and, for HR professionals, one of the most irritating. When you send your resume out indiscriminately, you waste your time and that of the reviewer. Avoid this mistake by reading job postings carefully and applying only to those that fit your experience and qualifications.

Limited Searches

The Internet is a handy way to find open jobs, but it should not be your only source. After all, the bulk of open jobs are never posted online; many are filled by personal referrals and headhunters. Restricting your efforts to employment websites is among the jobseeker failures that results in a long, demoralizing search. Instead, put the word out to your industry contacts, and amp up your networking efforts to learn about upcoming job openings.

Lack of Research

During a long job search, the lack of time and energy often leads jobseekers to skimp on company research. Of all the common jobseeker failures, this mistake is potentially the most embarrassing. When you enter into an interview without a working knowledge of the company and its place in the industry, you risk making a comment that exposes your ignorance or naiveté. Streamline your research process by setting up Google alerts to let you know whenever the company is mentioned in a news story.

Poor Internet Presence

It is not uncommon for a hiring manager to run a Google search on promising candidates before calling them in for an interview. If your Internet presence is lacking, you waste a valuable opportunity to impress the employer. Start by making your social media profiles private and changing your profile images to pictures that would be appropriate in a professional setting. Then, update your personal website and your LinkedIn profile to reflect your career to date.

Failing to Show Value

Among the most detrimental jobseeker failures is the expectation that the hiring manager will interpret your value from a boilerplate resume and cover letter. In reality, a generic application is more likely to make its way into the reject pile. Your job as an applicant is to demonstrate your value as a potential employee at each step of the hiring process. Spell out the ways you will be an asset to the company in your resume and cover letter, and fill an interview with specific anecdotes that prove your abilities.

Most professionals will commit one of these common jobseeker failures at some point during their careers. Fortunately, most problems can be avoided with adequate preparation and excellent application materials. During a job search, an upfront investment of time can pay off dramatically in the long run.


Photo courtesy of Ambro at



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  • DIEP B.
    DIEP B.

    This is helpful advice and doing research on the company is important.

  • Karen H.
    Karen H.

    Thanks. This was helpful.

  • robert zepeda
    robert zepeda

    thank you

  • Cynthia Webb
    Cynthia Webb

    The information place in your post was very valuable to me and others. Thank you in advance for the information your post gives us, it's a very helpful and positive tool.


    Every point made in this post was very informative!! Thank You

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