11 job-search blunders I find hard to believe


Some things I find hard to believe; like I stepped on my scale this morning expecting to be two pounds heavier due to weekend of overeating, but I was actually two pounds lighter.

Or I deliver the best workshop of my life and receive less than stellar evaluations. What about my wife still talking to me after I haven’t installed a new screen door on our house three weeks after she’d asked me to?

Other things I find hard to believe are things that job seekers do in their job search. For example:

  1. After getting laid off, they think it’s a great time for a three-month summer vacation. Take a week off and then start your job search is my advice. Some downtime is healthy, but the longer you’re out, the harder it will be to get a job.
  2. They tell me they have no accomplishments to list on their résumé, so they have a résumé that looks like a grocery list of duty statements. One job seeker told me that in five years of working at a company he hadn’t achieved anything great. Come on, try, guy.
  3. They send the same résumé to employers thinking targeted cover letters will address how they meet the requirements of a job. One customer admitted he sends out the same résumé but makes sure to tailor the cover letter to meet the employers’ needs. Half way there.
  4. Related to #3: They don’t send cover letters with their résumés. Come on, it only takes an hour at most to write a cover letter that elaborates more on your qualifications and accomplishments. Unless specifically told not to send a cover letter, send one.
  5. They think it’s acceptable to dress like they’re going to the gym while they’re in public. You’re always in the hunt and you never know when someone who has the authority to hire you—or knows someone who has the authority to hire you—will bump into you in the grocery store.
  6. Speaking of networking…they think going to networking events are the only places networking is allowed. Newsflash, networking is ongoing and happens wherever, whenever someone is willing to listen. Next time you’re getting your hair styled or cut, put a bug in the ear of your hairstylist.
  7. They start a LinkedIn profile and just leave it there like a wilting plant. Do you think doing this will create a positive impression on recruiters and employers? No, it will do more harm than good. Having a profile is one part of the equation; being active is another part. Be active on LinkedIn.
  8. They spend the majority of their time on the computer, posting résumés to Monster, SimplyHired, the Ladders, etc. Richard Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute, says your chance of success is between 5%-10% when using this method alone. To me this is not a great use of job seeking time.
  9. They spend mere minutes researching companies and the jobs for which they apply before an interview. Really now, don’t you owe employers the respect of being able to articulate why you want to work at their company and do the job they’re advertising? Do your research.
  10. They expect recruiters to work for them. Who pays the recruiters’ bills? Recruiters work for employers, and any optimism you hear in their voice is to give you confidence when vying for the position, not to indicate you have the job. They’re busy people who don’t always have time to answer your phone calls or e-mails, so don’t feel slighted.
  11. They don’t send a thank you note to employers after an interview. I know, people say it’s a waste of time; but don’t go about your job search in a half-ass way. Thank you notes are an extension of the interview and could make you or…break you.

If you’re committing all of these blunders, or even some of them, consider correcting these aspects of your job search. I’m curious to know of any blunders that come to your mind. Let’s add them to the list.


4 thoughts on “11 job-search blunders I find hard to believe

  1. Laura Vande Werken

    Regarding “The fact that JobVite.com states employers find that people they hire from the job boards are less like to succeed, proves it to me,” what is the reasoning behind that statement?


    1. Things Career Related Post author

      I don’t know, Laura, other than there were heinous typos in that paragraph. What JobVite pointed out is that the talent companies get from the job boards don’t work out as well as, say, those who are referred by others for position. But the Bolles’ stat and JobVite factoid don’t correlate, so I removed it.


  2. Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Resume Writer


    I’m right there with you, especially on #2 and #5. When I was involved in hiring, I was amazed to see how many people sent a resume that showed nearly 100% unrelated experience, but then added a cover letter that told me they were perfect for the job. Even if the cover letter pointed out valid qualifications, I had to hunt these skills down in the resume – and I still had trouble finding them. What about tuning the resume instead?

    For LinkedIn, a job hunter will only get ROI out of the effort invested in the site. A keyword-specific, branded Profile that explains the candidate’s value proposition, along with frequent status updates, a robust network of connections, and at least several endorsements, shows that the applicant grasps the purpose of social media. A strong digital identity must be cultivated… it isn’t a matter of “build it and they will come.”

    I’ve also seen #8 too many times to count. Job loss isn’t vacation time, even if it coincides with the right season. Job searching IS a job, and the more diligent the candidate, the better the results.

    Great list! Perhaps it will spur some additional job seekers to action (and good results!).

    Kind regards,




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