5 common mistakes that could be ruining your job search

We all make mistakes, especially on tasks we don’t take on that often

Tue, July 8th, 08:57


Job searching is something most of us will only do for concentrated periods of time, with years between each job search. We only do it because we’re looking for a change of role, a career step, or just a way out of unemployment. As a result, it’s pretty difficult to become an expert at finding a job.

Instead, we all approach it as amateurs and we all end up making the same mistakes. Most of which are easily avoidable. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common and how they might impact your job search.

‘I’ll apply later’

Most job ads will list a deadline for applications, tempting you to think ‘there’s plenty of time, I’ll sit down and do it later.’ That’s a recipe for a rushed application on the day of the deadline. Remember, the deadline doesn’t mean that employers are waiting for applications to pile up to sift through them after the deadline passes. Many employers will start the process while applications are coming in and it’s human nature for the first people you meet to stick in your mind. In other words, the deadline might actually be too late.

Draft cover letters

It might make sense to create a variety of email drafts to adapt into each application, however, no matter how many stock drafts you have they will all feel like stock drafts. Every role and every application should be different. You will come across much better if you write each cover letter from scratch. It only actually adds a few minutes to the email writing process and it is worth it.

Search, apply, and wait

You can find jobs on online jobs boards, on LinkedIn or Twitter; send a few emails and get your job hunting done in a matter of hours. However, if all you’re doing is firing off emails you are just joining a huge queue of people doing the same thing. You can be more creative than that. Make contact with the recruiter or hiring manager, ask questions about the role and see if there is another way you can get an edge. Talk to contacts at the company and get your face out there, personal introductions are always more effective than an email with attached CV.

Just writing CVs

Most of us know what a CV is supposed to look like; profile and personal details at the top, education and employment history in the middle and references at the end. However, just writing out that information, in that order may be a mistake. You should be crafting your CV with the recruiter in mind. Most recruiters spend just a few seconds reviewing each CV, meaning you need to make sure that the most important factors jump off the page. When you put your CV together, think about the keywords that a recruiter may be looking for and structure it so that they stand out above everything else.

Great expectations

The biggest danger in a job search can be your own expectations. You need to remember that you will be one of many applicants applying to each role and that there are never any guarantees. Don’t let yourself get too invested in a particular role or too disheartened if you are unsuccessful. As long as you avoid the mistakes, and put the work into your job search, CV and interview preparation, you will get the best job for you.

Looking for that perfect role? Find it on our Jobs Board.

Eoin Keenan

The Irish Times