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Twenty-two Most Common Mistakes People Make Looking for a Job, Outline for a Realistic Employment Workshop

Updated on August 14, 2015

Job Search Checklist

A. A Weak Start

1. You quit your old job before you finish looking for a new one; or worse, before you start.

2. You leave your old job before considering possibilities of other opportunities with your present employer, or trying to heal any broken relationships you may be leaving behind.

B. A Weak Philosophy

3. You have no clear job objective for yourself, no deep understanding of yourself.

4. You have little or no interest in anyone’s problems but your own.

5. You don’t build on your own past background, education, experience, or life-goals.

6. You ignore overall career design to get a bigger paycheck now, or you over-value other secondary criteria (i.e., you win the battle, but lose the life-time war).

7. You lack a flexible, realistic appraisal of your current status and value in the job marketplace.

C. A Weak Job Search Program

8. You rely too much on mailing or e-mailing resumes and application letters and fail to get yourself in front of prospective employers; OR you don’t use any mail contact at all.

9. You rely too much on newspaper or other media ads; OR you don’t refer to them at all.

10. You rely too much on professional employment agency counselors; OR you fail to get a professional counselor at all; OR you don’t cooperate with the counselor you do get.

11. You fail to stay on the search every day, fail to honor it like any other full-time job.

12. You fail to tell, with happy optimism, everyone you meet, “I’m searching for a better job!”

13. If you are a person of religious faith, you fail to pray every day, “Thank you, Lord, for leading me to the job that is right for me.” If you are not, you fail to affirm every day, “I am finding the job that is right for me!”

D. A Weak Presentation of Yourself

14. You dress poorly by standards in today’s workplace, or you have a visibly poor attitude.

15. You use a poor resume without gathering together adequate supporting materials.

16. You cannot answer an employer’s basic questions like, “Why should I hire you?” or “What can you do for me?” or “What’s wrong with your present employer?” or “Why are you unemployed?”

17. You cannot summarize effectively your own background and value to the employer (or to anyone else) in a concise, 3-minute or 5-minute presentation.

18. You ignore the employer’s point of view, the employer’s issues and concerns.

19. You fail to learn in advance the exact nature of the open job, the selection criteria, the reasons why the position is open, and/or the time frame for making a hiring decision.

E. A Weak Finish

20. You fail to follow up effectively with the employer.

21. You lose negotiating leverage by accepting the job before it has been offered, or the first salary.

22. Once hired, you stop looking for a new position until the next time you are unemployed!


Copyright © 2015 by Max J. Havlick, Realistic Employment Workshop, and the Max Havlick School, nonprofit activities of New World Community Enterprises, 16 W. Vermont St., Villa Park, IL 60181-1938, all rights reserved. Revised to August 15, 2015.

Realistic Employment Workshop offers comprehensive employment services, specializing in difficult situations, with results guaranteed if we take your case and you diligently do your part.


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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions, Max. I think those of us from a certain era understand better the importance of these suggestions.

    • Max Havlick profile image

      Max Havlick 2 years ago from Villa Park, Illinois

      Thank you, Kim, my most faithful respondent!

      Please email me an update on your health situation. Not only myself, but others in my local group are prayerfully concerned about you.


    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina


      You present a comprehensive list that is very helpful.