13 Mistakes You’re Probably Making Applying for Jobs
Looking for a job can be a tedious task. You’re constantly putting yourself out there to be judged, writing cover letter after cover letter, and tweaking your résumé like your life depends on it.
Having passion and being dedicated is a must when job hunting, but rejection notice can chip away at your soul. Instead of questioning your self-worth, examine your job-hunting techniques.
Sometimes we don’t realize that we make mistakes when we’re turning in our résumés to a potential employer. These mistakes can be as small as writing the wrong company in your cover letter to applying to out-of-town jobs without explaining why.
Addressing which mistakes you’re making will up your game and give you a boost of confidence the next time you hand in your résumé.
In your quest to find that perfect job, check the following common application mistakes to see if any are slowing down your career. .
You’re Submitting Too Many Résumés in One Day
While quantity over quality does trump some things in a few situations, that way of thinking doesn’t really apply when it comes to hunting for a new job.
Unless you’re a mastermind when it comes to applying for jobs, sending your résumé to 15 companies in one day is bound to blow up in your face and get you nowhere.
Ideally, you should be able to apply to two to three jobs in one day if you’re composing a thoughtful cover letter, doing research, and reformatting your résumé for each and every position that you apply to.
Your Cover Letter is Too Long
Cover letters are a great way to show your personality. However, that doesn’t mean that you should compose a novel with your whole work history — that’s what your résumé is for.
A long cover letter can lose the attention of the person reading it. They’ll quickly glance over it, and if they don’t see the qualifications that they’re looking for, they’ll go to the next application.
That’s why it’s important to keep your cover letter short and concise. Tell the hiring manager what you have to offer and why you want to work for the company. The quicker you can convey this message, the better.
You Don’t Have a Job Search Strategy
Whether you’re just beginning your career or looking to change industries, you probably won’t get very far if you don’t have a strategy when you’re searching for a new job.
Build a clear vision of the next role you want to be in. Where do you see yourself in the six months to a year? How much money are you hoping to have in your bank account?
Question your path and figure out what’s most important to you, then apply to job postings that fit your needs and wants.
You’re Not Using Your Network
Looking for a job can feel lonely. You’re competing with hundreds of applicants and it can be extremely stressful trying to find ways to stand out.
However, if you have a few friends in the industry that you’re applying to, you might be able to get your résumé looked at by connecting with one of them.
According to Accompany, 85 percent of jobs are filled through your professional network. So the next time you’re looking to try something new, reach out to your network that you activity keep in touch with and briefly mention that you’re in the marketing for a new job.
Only send your résumé if they request it, and tell them what kind of jobs you’re interested in applying for. While a job might not be available at that moment, something could pop up in the next couple of months.
You’re Sending the Same Résumé to Each Job
Your résumé is the single document that is going to get your foot in the door. So, what you decide to put that on single piece of paper is incredibly important.
Recruiters glance at each résumés for a few seconds. Don’t have what they’re looking for? Well, it’s too late, your résumé is already in the trash.
To make it stand out, edit your résumé for every job you apply to. I mean it — every single job.
Use the same keywords they put on the job description, take out previous roles that don’t fit the position you’re about to apply to. These little tweaks might feel annoying, but they can help make your résumé stand out and get a second glance.
You’re Underestimating Your Worth
Before starting a job hunt, you want to make sure you know exactly how valuable you are — because you are! You’re an extremely talented person, and any company would be so lucky to have you.
If you don’t believe that, it can show on your résumé and your cover letter.
Give yourself a confidence boost before you begin applying. Write positive affirmations, talk with a friend or family member on the phone — do whatever it takes to get yourself in a butt-kicking frame of mind.
Ultimately, you want to think that you’re the most talented, smartest person in the world (while being humble, of course) while you’re putting yourself out there. Because I’m sure you don’t want to get in the way of your own success, right?
Your Cover Letter Is a Copy of Your Résumé
Let’s be real: Cover letters are not easy to write. Who wants to compose a letter about themselves without sounding like a boasting pig?
But if you’re having a hard time coming up with a cool way to sell yourself, the last thing you want to do is copy the prose version your résumé into your cover letter. Why? Because your cover letter is supposed to be the cool cousin of your résumé, not it’s twin.
This is where you explain your skill set, the goals you’ve met in your previous roles, why you want to work at this particular company and what you can bring to the table. If you only regurgitate what’s on your résumé, the hiring manager or recruiter isn't going to have a sense of who you are and how you’ll fit into the company’s culture.
You’re Not Using Your Social Media Channels
If you’re going to spend hours on social media, you might as well put that time to good use.
Nowadays, most companies post job openings on their social media channels. While LinkedIn has been a go-to for candidates for years, Instagram Stories, Instagram, Twitter and even Pinterest have been known to house job announcements.
Also, recruiters use social media to find potential candidates based on the work they promote — which is better than posting about that fourth margarita you had last night.
You’re Applying the Old-Fashioned Way
If you don’t have a connection with the company you want to work for, there’s another way you can get in: email the person who’s in charge of the job posting.
It might take a little digging, but in addition to applying through the generic application process, you also want to find the email of the person whose in charge of hiring.
This will show initiative. The recruiter/hiring manager will most likely appreciate the extra step you took — which could up your chances of being hired.
You’re Not Proofreading Your Application
Whether or not you think you’re a kick-ass writer, you have to proofread your work before you turn it in.
This way you won’t hit the apply button and regret any minuscule mistakes. Bonus points if you ask a friend or family member to read over your application as well.
It never hurts to have multiple eyes on your application just to make sure everything is good to go before you send it out.
You Only Look for Positions That Are Posted
It makes sense to think that the only jobs that are available are the one that are posted online. However, that’s far from the truth.
A lot of jobs that need to be fill, don’t even see the light of day. A lot of them are filled in-house, through staffing agencies or connections (hello, that’s where your network comes in).
To get ahead of this, opt to work with a recruiter or cold email the company you want to work for to see if there are any positions they’re hoping to fill.
You never know how your life could change if you send a cold email.
You’re Applying for Jobs You’re Not Qualified For
While it’s never a bad idea to apply for a position that seems out of your comfort zone, you want to be realistic with the type of jobs you’re going to apply to — that means, applying for jobs that fit your skill set.
Most online applications go through an ATS search that shuffles through applications. If it doesn’t find the same qualifications that was written for the job description, it will throw your application out. Ouch.
Ideally, you want to still apply for those out-of-reach jobs, especially if you’re looking to switch industries, but articulate why you’re applying for these type of positions and skills you can bring to the table in the cover letter.
But if you’re not switching industries, aim to apply to these type of jobs fewer times than the ones you’re qualified more.
You’re Only Going After Well-Known Companies
Yes, it would be amazing to work for the biggest tech or financial or media company out there, but a million other people think so too.
If you want to give yourself a better chance of getting a job, think outside the box by applying to lesser-known companies. Start-ups, for instance, are a great way to get your foot in the door and wear many hats.
You can learn a lot about how a company begins and operates, which could give you the technical skills you’ll need more future roles.