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Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Chances of Landing a Job

By: Tamara Papo

Published On: April 8, 2015

You have edited your resume to within an inch of its life. You write personalized cover letters for each position you apply for. You have solid experience and references. And yet? It’s been months, and you have yet to land a job.

job search

Clearly something isn't working. Although you may be nailing the technical aspects of a job search, sometimes your error isn't as simple as a typo in your cover letter. So before you go and submit another resume, check to see if you’re making any of these three critical errors.

1. You're Not Clear about Your Objective

Not having a clear sense of what you want is a huge red flag for hiring managers. Obviously, you don’t want to tell a potential employer that you're willing to take any job, but you also don’t want to tell yourself that’because it’s likely not true. It’s not easy, but going through the work of figuring out exactly what you want and then emphaszing your qualifications for a job you truly care about will be worth it in the long run.

If you’re not sure if you’re guilty of not knowing what your intent is when applying for a job, ask yourself the following questions. If you answer “yes” to any of them, it’s time to do some serious self-reflection and figure out what you want.

  • Are you applying for every job you’re even marginally qualified for?
  • Are you unable to describe in vivid detail what your dream job is?
  • Do you think it’s a little ridiculous to think of landing jobs you want when you can’t even land jobs you don’t want?

Having an objective section on top of your resume would help you with stating your intent and it can make it more clear to employers what kind of positions you are seeking.

2. You're Coming off as Selfish

Maybe you are clear about what you want’and that’s great! But are you only focused on what’s in it for you?
Another error that job seekers make is focusing too much on themselves. This can happen when networking, writing cover letters, or interviewing’basically at any point during the job search. Applying for a job is very different from applying to college. When you are applying to college, they do care what you want to learn and get out of the experience. When you’re applying for a job, they care much more about what skills you have to offer and what problems you can solve’and a lot less about what you are going to get out of it.

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you might want to reevaluate how you’re approaching potential future employers.

  • Do you keep emphasizing how the position is “a great opportunity to learn” in your application or in the interview?
  • Are you networking and meeting with people with the sole intent of getting introduced to a company's hiring manager?
  • Do you talk about companies being a great fit for you instead of you being a great fit for a company?

3. You're Not Utilizing Your Networking Resources

If you don’t have a networking pool to turn to’either online or offline’then you’re not fully utilizing your resources. Your friends, family, former coworkers, and colleagues in your field are there to help. So keep up with networking associates and grant them favors when asked.


The job search process can be frustrating and discouraging, so it's important to remember to stay positive. With hard work and hustle, the right position will soon be yours!


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