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Things Not to Do in Your Job Search

Updated on May 21, 2019
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Mazlan shares some of the tips that he used to help others get more out of their time and effort in their pursuit for personal development

How to Look for Work

It can be frustrating when there is no success in so many of your job searches. Out of desperation, you tend to do the wrong thing.

When you are out on a job search, do not send out your resume to any advertised jobs. You will be wasting your time and effort applying for positions that you are not experienced or qualified for. It helps to be as precise as possible to match your skills and knowledge. If necessary, find specialist recruiters that can handle your particular field of specialization.

This is one example of what not to do and what to do when applying for a job.

Below are thirteen more other examples of things that you should NOT do during a job hunt.

1 Did Not Check Resume

Write your resume to match the job requirement. When you adopt the strategy of applying to several advertisements, there is the tendency to send resume written specifically for another job.

Therefore, check your resume not just for the typo and grammatical errors, but also the content detail. Likewise, check the cover letter before posting.

2 Did Not Provide Enough Detail

Your resume should have sufficient detail of your personal information, education and work experiences.

Always give a short description of the company that you had work before especially if it is not well known.

Your personal information should have at least your full address, house or work phone number, your mobile number and email address. Do not include expected salary in your resume.

If you have time gap in your career such as taking a break for health reason, explain clearly so as not to jeopardize your chances. When called for an interview, explain further the reason for this time gap.

Things That You Should Exclude From Your Resume

  • Objectives: This is more of what you want rather than what the company/employer wants. Use the cover letter instead if you need to elaborate further.
  • Functional resumes: This format lists skills that are not in chronological job history, which will hide any gap in between jobs. Employers will find it difficult to understand your career's progression and may reject the application.
  • Photo: This is not required unless the type of job requires you to do so, such as working as flight attendant or as model.
  • Your Salary: Exclude this, as it will compromise on your future negotiation for salary and other compensation.
  • Page Format: Use standard format and not a fancy design as this tends to look 'unprofessional'.

3 Did Not Write Customized Cover Letter

A customized cover letter will impress a prospective employer and may have you listed as one of the strong candidate for the job.

However, do not write a long cover letter. It should be only three paragraphs long. It must include reason for the cover letter, where you heard of this vacancy and lastly, information that will enhance your chances (that is not available in your resume).

4 Did Not Do Research

If you fail to research the company's background, its vision, goal, financial performance, shareholders and management team, then you may stumble if the interview questions are on these subjects. You may not be able to discuss and explain on what you can offer to the company and how you can fit in the organization.

Be a well-prepared candidate by doing research on the company and find out all that you can, to survive and succeed in the interview.

5 Did Not Read the Job Advertisement Properly

Most of the job applications end up in the rejected list simply because they fail to read the posting properly.

Read every single line and paragraph of the advertisement and be sure that it advertises for an electrical engineer and not an electronic engineer or mechanical engineer. Read the job's requirement, duties and responsibilities. If you have the strategy of applying for as many jobs as possible, you may end up applying for mismatched jobs.

Sloppy Job Application

If your application is sloppy, most employers will not only reject your application, but will not keep it in their database for future reference. They look at it as an example of your work performance and will therefore not employ someone who cannot follow simple instruction and direction.

Job Search with Google

6 Did Not Organize Your Job Search

It is best to have a dedicated email for all job searches and separate them from your personal email. With the amount of emails that you may get, you can easily miss an important message or fail to follow up on it, promptly.

If you are active in your job searches, you may forget that you had applied for a job with a particular company. If they call to fix an interview and if you are not organized, you may give a confused answer, as you may have no clue whatsoever of the application, position and the company

Job Search Tools

There are several tools available including the free version that can help track all these job search activities for you. Some can even send reminders not just to your email, but also to your mobile phone. Examples of these tools are jobsearchlog and JibberJobber.

7 Did Not Network or be in Mailing List for Job Offers

Some job advertisements are neither online nor in print. There are available only to those who are on their mailing list or given to recruitment agencies. If you know what organizations that you aspire to work for, register with them and be on their mailing list.

Alternatively, find contacts and other connections that can help you find and apply for these jobs.

Network on Social Media for Job Opportunity

Networking is now one of the essential components of a job search, as it will help open doors for you. However, if you use social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, be mindful of how you use it as it may work for, as well as, against you.

Use your old and existing contacts and stay in touch, both online and offline. These will include your schools and university friends, your neighbors, your former co-workers, bosses and friends.

Network on LinkedIn for Job Referral

If you have a LinkedIn account, check if you are connected to anyone who works or used to work in that company. Referrals from existing or previous employees will certainly be an added advantage and have proven to at least get you an interview, provided your qualifications and job experiences satisfy their requirements.

Therefore, you should spend less time on Facebook and more time on LinkedIn. Do targeted connection that will help you in your career and will open more doors to opportunities.

8 Did Not Have a Positive Attitude

Some candidates tend to be arrogant in the style and language used in the cover letter. Be humble instead as it will work to your advantage.

Some may also show a negative attitude especially when expressing opinion of their previous companies or bosses. This will not reflect well on you and recruiters may disqualify you even if your education and work experiences match their needs.

Develop a positive attitude, as it will help you in interviews, meeting new and old contacts, networking calls and in everything else that you do. If you have positive attitude, others will think of you as someone that are pleasant to meet and know, and hopefully will land you that job.

9 Did Not Reveal the Right Information

If you are pregnant and are actively doing job searches, be transparent and tell the recruiter of your pregnancy, if it is not that obvious yet!

Interviews are conducted based on trust and if you are hired, you want the company to know that they hired the best person for the job and not someone who is out to deceive them. The best time to do this is when you received their letter of offer. However, if the pregnancy is obvious you may want to deal with the subject matter during the interview stage.

However, in some countries like the USA, you are not required to reveal your pregnancy or even your marital status.

10 Did Not Use the Right Keywords

If you submit your resume online, you have to use the right keywords to match your qualifications and work experiences, to get your email and resume noticed.

Therefore, when an employer or recruiter types a specific word to find the appropriate resume from their large database, chances are your resume will appear if it matches the search.

11 Did Not Ask for Help

There are many people in the same predicament as you and asking for help is not that difficult. It may make your job search easier for you.

For example, you may want someone to review and made changes to your resume and cover letters. Or you want to try new format and learn how to maximize and spice up on your knowledge and experience, for your resume. Ask friends or relatives for help.

Alternatively, you may try professional help.

Job Search can be challenging so seek help from others, if required
Job Search can be challenging so seek help from others, if required | Source

12 Did Not Save File Properly

When you do your resume in word format, you should save it as .doc file and not as .docx file. If the hirer does not have the latest Microsoft Word software, he or she will not be able to open the .docx file. The .doc file is the older Microsoft Word version and can be open by everyone who has either the old or the new Microsoft Word.

To save it as .doc file, click on the 'File' tab, then on 'Save As' and type the file name of your resume.

Save it using your name so that hirer can easily know which file belongs to you i.e. save it as henrywilsonresume.doc. Likewise, do the same thing for the cover letter.

13 Did Not Follow the Rules of Job Search

Remember the dos and don'ts of job search including what you had read earlier. Writing good resumes, cover letter, be on time for the interview, dressed properly for the interview and sending thank-you note after the interview are examples of the dos of job search.

Spend time to prepare for the interview so that you will not make mistakes.

Dress appropriately for the job interview and make sure it is not messy, outdated and too revealing or flashy. Do not apply too much perfume and/or make-up. Keep a strong eye contact and have a firm handshake.

While it is OK to follow up with the recruiter after the interview, do not do it too often as it might annoy them and reduce your chances of being hired!

Follow all these tips and advice and you will find success in your job search.

Articles on Career

For more articles on career, read guide to career in real estate and article on career that will pay you to travel.


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    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Malaysia

      You are most welcome Coffeequeeen. And thanks for dropping by.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 years ago from Norfolk, England

      You've definitely given some sound advice there. Thanks for sharing this hub, it's been most helpful.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Malaysia

      dhimanreena: Yes, these guidelines are very important and one should follow them. Thanks for the visit, and the comment.

    • dhimanreena profile image

      Reena Dhiman 

      6 years ago

      All advice are very important and helpful to get a desired job.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Malaysia

      Thank you Hanif-Ibrahim. This list was compiled based on my discussion with one of the local recruiter, who was once an HR manager, for an Oil and Gas company.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Malaysia

      Emma, I hope you will be successful in your job search. I am glad you find this article useful. thanks for the visit.

      Christy, thanks for the revisit, the votes and Share.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Useful details here! I agree that a customized cover letter is very important. It shows attention to detail and that you have done research on the current opening. Vote up and sharing too.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 

      7 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Some good advice here. I am job hunting and your tips will come in handy - thanks.

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      @krsharp05 , Good luck in your job search and I hope this article will help. Thanks for the compliment and the visit.

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 

      8 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      This is great information. I am in the process of looking for a job and these suggestions are going to help me tremendously. Thanks for sharing. -K

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      8 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You are right that customized cover letters (not the easiest thing) are important to any job search.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      8 years ago from Western New York

      This list should be checked by anyone currently looking for a job. One typo on a resume in today's market could ruin your chances for an interview. Excellent advice, greatstuff!

    • greatstuff profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Malaysia

      @point2make: Thanks for the compliment and have a good weekend.

    • point2make profile image


      8 years ago

      Very good hub. Your points are excellent and if followed will help any job hunter achieve success. Good job....voted up.


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