Avoid the 3 Most Common Job Seeker Mistakes

Any top three or five list is hard to create, since there are many options to choose from… especially when it comes to job seekers.

Why? Because many job seekers, sadly, make many mistakes.

Here, we will review three that really hit me recently, as I have been involved in some very intense job seeker counseling sessions. While these may not be the top three for some, they are certainly top-of-mind from my recent sessions:

Not Taking Branding Seriously

When I sit down with job seekers and ask the question, “what is your brand?” I often get a blank stare –and I try not to get angry. It’s really a shame that job seekers do not determine their brand before the interview. Why is that? Real simple – they don’t know what that means.

So, the real mistake job seekers make is not understanding what “your brand” really means and where to get started. Joshua Waldman’s blog post The Top Three Mistakes Job Seekers Make on LinkedIn discusses a few issues about personal brand and provides examples. Meg Guiseppi’s post, 20 Common LinkedIn Mistakes Online JobSeekers Make, has an even larger list about mistakes on LinkedIn; some of these are focused on branding and others are general LinkedIn mistakes.

Relying Too Much on Job Boards

Job boards have recently received a bad rap.  When used properly, they can be of good use. Many people assume finding a good role on a job board and then applying is magic and that’s all that needs to happen. But finding and applying for a job online (and that includes a company’s website) is just the beginning. Many times, I advise job seekers not to apply, but find a connection and reach out. Ask the connection about the job and if they can help you.

A few jobs ago, this actually happened to me. Like a good soldier, I applied online at a company I had numerous connections with, and where I was very well qualified. A week goes by. Two weeks. Nothing. Frustrated, I found a connection on LinkedIn whom I used to work with who was then at that company. A quick discussion, and two days later, interview! Twenty-four hours after the interview, verbal job offer, 36 hours, written offer. It would be great if this happened to everyone, but this experience made me realize that just relying on their job board system was not going to cut it – you need to take the hunt into your own hands.

Not Being Flexible

No, I’m not asking job seekers to be contortionists, but to think about industries other than your current one where your skills and experience can apply. You may be focusing on a very specific industry, but not applying your skills and experience to others. Sure, you may have great experience and skills in construction, but what other industries are there that are also a fit?

I have friends who started in construction and now focus on areas such as green energy management. That may not be an easy transition, as there may be a skills gap, but think out of the box. If you’re not sure where to start, hit a job search engine like Indeed.com or SimplyHired.com and search only for your skill sets (this make take multiple searches), not your title. The jobs that result may surprise you – and take you in different directions than you expected.

So, that’s a quick list of my top three job seeker mistakes: branding (or lack thereof), relying too much on job boards and not being flexible enough.

Have you committed or seen any other mistakes during your job search? Please share them in a comment below.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Jackalope Jobs!

About the Author:  Sudy Bharadwaj is a co-founder and the CEO of Jackalope Jobs, a job seeker focused platform, making the job search social, fast and easy. Learn how Sudy and Jackalope Jobs obsess over job seekers by connecting with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.



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