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by Rob Porter | May 22, 2023


Any serious job search can be a stressful endeavor. You’re putting yourself and your experience out there for all to see, and it can sometimes feel like you’re under a giant microscope. Not only that, but you’re in competition with numerous other applicants. Yes friends, a job search can take a lot out of you, so it’s important to be aware of any potentially hazardous situations you could find yourself in. Here are some job search mistakes to watch out for.

Blindly Applying for Jobs

Since the advent of job search websites such as Indeed and ZipRecruiter, it has become increasingly easy to apply for many jobs in rapid succession. You might be thinking that the more jobs you apply for, the better the chance will be that you’ll get a response, but doing this could potentially lead to a whole lot of wasted time. When you blindly apply for multiple jobs, you’re missing out on important information about the companies themselves. It’s best to determine whether a company and the role at hand is a good fit for you before you apply.

When on a job search, take the time to carefully read the job descriptions. When you’re interested in a job, conduct some research into the company by checking out its official website and social media platforms. You should look to learn as much as you can about a company’s offerings, workplace culture, and leadership team in order to decide whether or not you’d be a good fit. You could also put together a “wish list” of sorts, then apply only to jobs that offer the perks and benefits from your list.

Poor Communication

It’s important to practice good communication during the application process. For starters, make sure you place enough time between your application and a follow-up email. You don’t want to be overly aggressive, so don’t start pestering the hiring manager with emails or messages in the days after you’ve submitted your application. Always wait about a week and a half before you start following up.

Another important thing to remember is to always maintain a consistent degree of professionalism throughout the application process. When sending a follow up email or any other kind of message, be polite and friendly even if you aren’t selected for an interview. Those positive interactions could come into play in the future, should you decide to apply for the same position at the same company down the line.

Not Following Instructions

You might have noticed that certain job postings have additional instructions, whether it’s some sort of aptitude test or a request for additional materials or information. Potential employers have these specific instructions put in place for a couple of reasons. For starters, they might want to screen applicants to ensure they have the necessary skills for the job at hand; only accepting applications from those who perform according to their standards. In addition to this, potential employers want to see that applicants are able to follow directions.

If you ignore additional instructions on a job posting, potential employers might think you don’t pay attention to details, or that you’re defiant. It goes without saying, but those qualities don’t exactly make a good candidate. The bottom line is, take extra time to read job descriptions carefully, as they might be asking for some additional information from you.

Stretching the Truth

If you come across a job posting that looks like a dream come true, you might be tempted to “embellish” upon your skills in order to make the cut. Now, there’s nothing wrong with rewording certain parts of your resume in order to align more closely to a job posting, but if you decide to do that, you must remain truthful. For example, if the job description states that a potential employer is looking for someone who is proficient in the Adobe Suite, you can add that to your list of skills in the event you have an appropriate degree of working knowledge with those programs.

On the other hand, if a job description requires you to be an expert in Microsoft Excel and you’ve never even used the program, it would be best to keep looking. Sure, you could potentially get hired on false pretenses, but it won’t take very long until you hit a serious roadblock, or worse yet—your boss deduces that you’ve lied on your resume. If you come across job postings that require skills you don’t have, you can always work to develop those skills and try again at a later date.

Throwing in the Towel

A job search can get frustrating at times, especially if you’re not getting any responses. Perhaps the worst mistake anyone can make while searching for a job is giving up entirely. Whether you’re looking to leave your current job or you’re looking for your first job right out of college, don’t let frustration get to you. If things don’t seem to be working, try taking a look at your resume. Is there anything you forgot to mention? Do your best to customize your resume, cover letter, and any other supporting materials to make sure they align with the job descriptions.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or a lack of responses is getting you down, take a break—just remember to get back to it once you’ve recharged your batteries. Be thorough and deliberate with each and every application, and eventually you will get a response. Remember, there are likely many candidates applying to the same jobs as you, so competition can get pretty fierce. With this in mind, stay positive and motivated, take your time, and avoid making the mistakes on this list.