10 Common Job Hunting Mistakes to Avoid

If you’re currently applying for jobs or looking to make a career change, there are several mistakes that can plague even the most worthy candidates.

The Top 10 Job Hunting Mistakes

Applying for Every Single Job – Even the Ones You’re Not Qualified for

When looking for work, you might assume that it’s a good idea to up your chances and apply for every job advertised. Surely that gives you the best chance of securing a new role, right?


Wrong. Your time is a precious commodity. The hours spent applying for jobs you’re unlikely to get are far better invested in high-quality applications for those you do have a chance of securing. Instead of spending your day answering 20 adverts for jobs that are not suitable, you’ll be better served by taking your time and applying for 5 appropriate positions.

Unfocused Applications

Recruiters don’t have the time to spend interpreting the true meaning of your application or reading between the lines. Your application should be succinct, straight to the point, and pertinent to the role.

Tailoring your application precisely to the advertised job demonstrates your understanding of the role, as well as showing respect to the recruiting organization. Take time to do some research on the company, and integrate relevant points into your application. This is always impressive to employers!

Omitting a Cover Letter

A very common mistake is to send an application without a cover letter. Even the most impressive CV will fail to move past the screening phase if it isn’t delivered alongside a cover letter.

When making your application, make sure to write a cover letter that includes the job title, the highlights of your relevant qualifications and experience, as well as the reasons why you make an ideal candidate. A cover letter gives you the opportunity to sell yourself to the recruiter; never apply for a job without one!

An Awkward Resume

Your resume is one of the first interactions you have with a recruiter – alongside your cover letter, of course! As such, it should be informative, tidy, and professional.

Include pertinent information about your education, previous roles, skills, and experience, but try to leave out irrelevant details. Keep it focused and tailored to the role you’re applying for.

When it comes to formatting, opt for clean lines and clear text. Don’t choose a wacky font or add unnecessary embellishments; these decisions will get you noticed, but not in a positive way. Ensure the first impression you make is a good one.


At no point in a job application should you stretch the truth, or even worse, tell an outright lie. If you’re found out – and this is a strong possibility – it will likely be curtains for your application. A false claim that leads to employment is more serious and can prompt your dismissal if it is discovered.


If there’s a gap in your experience, own it; explain to the recruiter or interviewer that you would like to use that experience as part of your career development, and you’re willing to learn new things. Recruiters will appreciate your honesty and enthusiasm, which can make a huge difference when selecting the right candidate.

Lacking Ambition

When looking for a new job, particularly if you’ve been out of work for some time, it can be tempting to settle on a role for which you are overqualified.

Think about your career development when making applications, and aim for roles that are a promotion in relation to your current job. Whether that involves greater seniority, expanded responsibilities, a higher salary, or a combination of all three, be ambitious!

Being Too Modest

Don’t fall into the trap of underselling yourself. It’s not arrogant to highlight your strengths. In fact, recruiters expect you to sell yourself, and they won’t know how good you are unless you tell them!

For some people, this is a matter of confidence. Our advice is to be assured in all of the experience and skills you’ve gathered in your career to date. Recruiters will not consider unsuitable candidates; moving through the process is a clear sign that you do have what they’re looking for!

Lack of Preparation for an Interview

Making it to the interview stage is a huge achievement in itself. Don’t mess up at this stage by going into the interview without the necessary planning. Like the old adage says, if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Interviewers can tell the difference between nerves and lack of preparation. The former usually settles as an interview progresses, giving recruiters the opportunity to see you shine. Under-preparation permeates through every response, and will not be viewed favourably. Making time to prepare for an interview is an investment in your future; take it seriously!

Failure to Take Networking Opportunities

You’ll be amazed at the opportunities that can come your way when you network! Ensure that you are present at industry events and make conversation with everyone that you can.

You can also get your name out there by being visible on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Choose the platforms most relevant to your industry and career aspirations. Even the most innocuous connection can lead to exciting career development!

Dwelling on Rejection

During the job application process, there may be times when you face rejection. Don’t take it personally; most positions are oversubscribed, and often the difference between a successful and unsuccessful candidate is extremely narrow.

If you receive feedback on your application, take constructive criticism, and learn from it. Don’t give up; dust yourself off and get ready to smash the next interview!

If you don’t hear back from the potential employer you can always follow up by email or phone, but only after 1-2 have passed since they received your application.


We hope this list has been useful. Armed with the knowledge of the ten most common job-hunting mistakes described above, you’ll be empowered to submit applications that dazzle recruiters, leading you to the job of your dreams. Good luck!

Job Searching

Leave a Reply