Job Search Mistakes to Avoid in 2019

Why do you think you still do not have a job yet?

You probably must have thought of things like; “Maybe it is because I don’t have anyone to help me”,

“I think I studied the worst course ever”

or “I think I am not just lucky about getting a job at all”.

These are the thoughts that will come to your mind first, but have you ever thought of “you” being the culprit here.

You can make your job-search period more stressful and longer than it is supposed to be, even if you don’t intend to.

Not preparing for a job-search at all or showing up late for an interview are little mistakes (you should avoid in 2019) that can stop you from landing your dream job.

So if your job-search has lingered for a long time, then you should definitely avoid these job-search mistakes:

This is a massive list of over 100 mistakes job seekers make. Go through the summary here but feel free to print the full list and keep it handy.

Top Mistakes Job Seekers Makes:

  • Not having a career path
  • Writing a generic cv
  • Being unprofessional with information on your cv
  • Having too many typos in your cv
  • Focusing too much on what you want to gain rather than what you want to give when writing your cover letter
  • Using a generic template message that doesn’t relate to the role
  • Not getting used to common interview questions and answers
  • Forgetting to follow up
  • Ineffective networking
  • Not planning your job search

Before searching for a job

  1. Failure to choose a career path
    Many job-seekers are desperately in need of a job, so they tend to be comfortable with any job that comes their way. Not choosing a career path or choosing the wrong one can make your job-search really confusing.
  1. Not choosing a career path that best fits your interest and skills
    Searching and applying for random jobs that you find anywhere is one job-search mistake you should avoid as a job-seeker if you want to have a more tailored and focused job-search.
  1. Not preparing for a job search at all
    Many job-seekers don’t know that searching for a job is a job on its own. Before you go ahead to search and apply for jobs, you should make sure you have discovered your career path, created a winning CV and an attention getting cover letter.

Resume/CV Mistakes

  1. Writing a generic CV
    Every CV should be tailored to the particular job that you are applying for, rather than creating a CV that is meant to fit all purpose. A CV that is tailored to meet a particular job description will get more attention.
  1. Stating unproven claims (things like I was the best marketer in the industry)
    When you make claims like; “I became the best marketer in the industry” that are proven can work against you during the interview section. These kinds of statements can raise the employer’s expectations that you might not be able to meet up to during the interview.
  1. Being unprofessional with information on your CV (using annoying email address)
    Your CV is an official document that should be treated as one. Every information you give on your CV tells a lot about you, you should be careful to give professional information that the employer needs. Giving unprofessional email address like “hotsexybaby@…” may give the wrong impression about you.
  1. Creating a very wordy CV
    what your CV does basically is to tell your prospective employer that you are the best person for the job. Recruitment officers have loads of CV’s to read, so creating a wordy CV will not help the process at all.
  1. Using cliché’s in your summary that don’t relate to the role
    Recruiters see thousands of CV’s on a daily basis and they can easily tell when a job-seeker uses a random summary. The summary on your CV should represent who you are and how you are the best fit for the job.
  2. Making your CV unnecessarily Scanty
    Your CV should be targeted at giving the right information and impression about you. Formatting your CV to show only scanty bullet of your personal and career information is not good enough. Your CV is your marketing tool and as such should be treated as one.
  1. Creating a poorly organized CV
    How organized or how disorganized your CV is tells so much about your personality. If you have issues formatting your CV, you can seek the help of a CV service for a well formatted CV.
  2. Having too many typos in your CV
    Having too many typos shows that you are unorganized, careless and that you don’t pay attention to details. To help you eliminate typographical errors on your CV, you should re-read several times to make sure there are no error.
  1. Stating an objective at the beginning of your CV
    Some hiring manager’s see it as not relevant at all. According to experts, recruiters have approximately 8 minutes to spend on a CV, and you don’t want to spend time with irrelevancies.
  1. Adding salary and negotiations to your CV
    Adding a salary range to your CV shows that you are not really interested in the in the company or the job, that you are just interested in the money. It can also mar your opportunity of negotiating your salary properly.
  1. Adding Images and logos
    If you are not applying for a job in the media or an audition, then adding an image or a logo to your CV may not be really necessary. If you are not very good looking adding an image to your CV may be to your own disadvantage.
  1. Leaving unexplained gaps in your CV
    When you have employment gaps in your CV, you should always explain the gaps and not leave your prospective employer wondering. Leaving unexplained gaps can mean that you were ideal during that period. Employers want hard working and innovative employees.
  1. Saving your CV in unsupported formats
    You should always save your CV in supported formats that can easily be opened. A CV should be saved in formats like PDF and word document. Using special file format to save your document may not be the best option.
  1. Adding reference without request
    You should only add reference to your CV if it is requested by the recruiter. Adding a reference to your CV without permission is can make your CV unnecessarily wordy.
  1. Writing your CV in third person narration
    Writing your CV in third person narration makes it sound objective, more like you are not the one applying for the job. You should avoid using words like; he, she, it, they, him, her, them, his, her, hers, its, their, and theirs. You should rather use words like “I”.
  1. Including hobbies and interests that are not related to the job

There is no point for you to include hobbies and interest that doesn’t relate to the job description. You should only add interests and hobbies that will emphasize that you are the best person for the job.

  1. Lying about yourself on your CV
    Giving the wrong information about yourself on your CV will not land you the job. Since you eventually look forward to getting an interview invite, then you have to give only information that you can defend.
  1. Not including important information on your CV
    You should never leave out important information on your CV, because that is what the employer will use to contact you. Information like; your telephone number, email address, etc. should not be left out of your CV.
  1. Putting incorrect contact information
    Before sending out your CV, you should make sure you include all the relevant information on your CV. Putting incorrect contact information, email address etc. may hinder employers from contacting you.
  1. Not including keywords
    Keywords are the phrases or words used in your CV that the ATS software will pick up. Including keywords in your resume will help it get noticed fast. The keyword you use on your CV should include adjectives like; diligent, hard-working, punctual etc. and verbs like delivered, achieved.

Cover Letter Mistakes

  1. Restating your CV/Resume
    Your cover letter should not be another copy of your CV. Your cover letter is an opportunity for you to show that you are the best person for the job.
  1. Focusing too much on what you want to gain rather than what you want to give when writing your cover letter
    When writing your cover letter, you should not write it in a way that it will speak so much of what you want to get from the company rather than what you will bring to the table. Your cover letter should be a summary of what you bring to the table that makes you the best.
  1. Grammatical errors
    You should always avoid making grammatical errors on your cover letter since your cover letter is your marketing tool. You can use to help you eliminate such errors.
  1. Using a generic template message that doesn’t relate to the role
    You should be specific when you are tailoring your cover letter to suit a particular role. Using a generic cover letter when applying for a more specific job role is one mistake every job-seeker should avoid.
  1. Writing a long cover letter
    Your cover letter doesn’t need to be unnecessarily long. It should a have a focus and be straight to the point. You should go ahead and sell yourself in a concise manner when you are writing a cover letter.
  1. Focusing more on your soft skill rather than related skills
    When you are writing your cover letter, you should focus on adding skills that are related to the job description. Making a list of your soft skills is just making your cover letter unnecessarily wordy and irrelevant.
  2. Including unnecessary information
    Adding unnecessary information like; your name, educational background etc. when writing your cover letter makes it wordy and irrelevant to the post that you are applying for. 
  1. Not using strong language to describe yourself
    Just like we talked about using keywords, you have to use strong descriptive words to describe your strength and achievements. Using these words already gives the recruiter an idea of who you are.
  1. Using poor opening paragraph
    The opening paragraph of your cover letter should be your “elevator pitch”. This gives you the opportunity to prove that you are a good fit. Using a poor opening paragraph can mar that opportunity and make the recruiter disinterested.
  2. Not tailoring your cover letter
    there is nothing like a “one fits all” when you are creating your cover letter. Every cover letter you want to send out should be tailored to fit the particular job that you are applying for.
  1. Writing a too short cover letter
    As much as you are advised to keep your cover letter short and straight to the point, you also not make it unnecessarily short. Writing your cover letter is not writing the subject of a mail. Your cover letter should be good enough to sell you.
  1. Having a weak closing paragraph
    you don’t necessarily have to thank the employer when you are closing the letter, you can close your letter by saying: “I believe this is a position where my passion for this industry will grow because of the (give examples) opportunities you provide your employees”.
  1. Not naming the hiring manager
    one mistake you should never make is not naming the hiring manager. If you can research about the hiring manager, you should name them in your cover letter.
  1. Not getting some facts right like the name of the employer
    One mistake you should never make is not getting some important facts right on your cover letter. Not getting the name of your hiring manager right is one mistake you should never make.
  1. Not expressing enough interest in the role
    you should always express your interest for the role when you are writing your cover letter. You should sound like you are enthusiastic about the job.
  1. Writing in an unprofessional manner
    you should always keep the tone of your writing professional. Being very unprofessional with the words you use on your cover letter. Be careful not to use swear words on your cover letter.
  1. Giving too much personal information that are not needed
    the information you should give on your cover letter should be the information that is relevant to the job and how you best fit in. Giving personal information like your genotype, blood group may be irrelevant.
  2. Ignoring important accomplishments
    you should not ignore or leave out some information like your accomplishment on your cover letter. Adding your accomplishment to your cover gives more reason why you are the best fit for the job.
  1. Ignoring request for information in job posting
    Sometimes, job vacancies come with instructions that you are supposed to adhere to on your cover letter. Not following the instructions on your cover letter can mar your opportunity.
  1. Starting the first phrase of the cover letter with your name
    just like we said earlier, you should not start the first phrase of your cover letter with name. You should start it with your elevation pitch. The recruiter must have probably seen your CV, so restating your cover letter is not ideal.
  1. Speaking ill of previous employer
    you should not speak ill of your previous employer because you want to appeal to the emotions of your prospective employer. You should focus on selling yourself and not speaking ill of your previous employer in your cover letter.
  1. Not proof-reading the letter when you are done
    because you are human and not a robot, mistakes are bound to happen. So should always proof-read your cover letter as soon as you are done writing it to eliminate errors.  
  1. Not making it clear why you want the position
    Employers look forward to employing dedicated and loyal members that will be interested in working for the company. You need to make clear why you want the job.

Job interview mistakes

  1. Not preparing for the interview at all
    when you have an interview invite, the next thing is not for you to jump at it, you should take the time to prepare your mind to landing your dream job. Study the location of the venue, rehearse your elevation pitch etc. 
  1. Putting on the wrong dressing
     there are clothes for different occasions. Make sure you put on a corporate dress when you are preparing for an interview. Your dressing tells a lot about who you are.
  2. Arriving late for the interview
    arriving late for the interview shows that you are not disciplined, that you don’t pay attention to details and you are not proactive. You should arrive the interview venue at least 30 minutes before the time.
  3. Not getting used to common interview questions and answers
    not getting used to common job interview questions and answers is one mistake you should never make. Practicing job interview questions and answer will help you prepare better for the interview.
  1. Not knowing your worth
    if you don’t know the market value for the job you are applying for, it will be really difficult for you to negotiate your salary. Check to know your worth.
  1. Being too confident and unprofessional
    It is good to be bold and confident, but being too confident could be read as being rude. You should maintain a level of confidence during your interview and remain professional.
  1. Speaking poorly of previous employer
    during your interview section with your prospective employer, never speak poorly about your previous employer. The recruiter will see you as a negative person that may still speak poorly about the new company.
  1. Not researching the company
    not researching the company before the interview can be a major pit fall. Before going for the interview, you need to research the company online before you go for the interview.
  1. Not being familiar with/not understanding the job description
    understanding the job description for the job before you go for the interview will make you more confident when answering interview questions.
  1. Being unprofessional
    an interview is a professional meeting between you and the employer. Being unnecessarily playful can irritate the employer. You really need to keep your interview section professional and straight to the point.
  1. Not asking any question at all
    employers look forward to hiring someone that has a good problem solving ability. Not asking any question at all shows that you are concerned about the role and the company. It also shows that you don’t have a good problem solving ability.
  1. Giving cliché/general answers to interview questions
    your answers to interview questions should not be stereotyped, all your answers should be tailored to letting the recruiter know that you are the best person for that particular job.
  1. Not bringing a resume
    you should always come with a copy of your resume when you are going for an interview. The recruiter may not be with a copy of your resume at that particular time, requesting it from you solves that problem.
  2. Not showing interest in the job
    during your interview, you should always show the employer or recruiter that you are enthusiastic about the job and the company at large. Employers want to hire people that are passionate about what they do.
  3. Focusing so much on yourself
    during your interview, your answers to questions should not focus on what you aim at achieving working in that company. You should rather focus on what you have to offer to the company, what solutions you are bringing to solve existing problems.
  4. Asking unrelated personal questions
    As much as it is good for you to ask questions, you should make sure you don’t ask personal questions that don’t relate to the company or the job you are applying for. Asking the recruiter personal questions doesn’t show that you are intelligent.
  5. Sounding too desperate
    It is good to show interest in the job you are applying for, but being desperate about it could be unhealthy. Acting like your life depends on the job doesn’t show commitment, it shows that you are desperate and a desperate person is a scary person to a recruiter.
  1. Forgetting to follow up
    Following up is one aspect of the interview process that most job-seekers forget to do. Following up few hours or days after the interview re-emphasizes your interest in the job.
  1. Not researching the interviewer
    you can research the interview before going for the interview if some of the details are given to you. If you are given the name of the interviewer, you can research the interviewer on social media platforms like; LinkedIn, Facebook etc. to learn more about them.
  1. Sharing too much information
    don’t be carried away to share personal information about yourself during your interview. Some personal information can reduce your chances of getting the job. Always remember to keep your conversation professional and interesting.
  1. Not asking questions about the next steps of the interview
    don’t leave the interview room without asking for the next step of the interview. Asking about the next step of the interview process shows that you are patient and also interested in the job.
  1. Using your phone
    being busy with your phone during your interview is one mistake you should avoid any day. It shows that you don’t have manner and respect for people. It also displays to a large extent your level of concentration and maturity.
  1. Not paying attention to the recruiter during the interview
    acting very distracted during your interview is one mistake you should avoid. The recruiter needs you to pay attention and communicate well so that he/she can determine if you are the best person for the position. So not paying attention will be a bad sign.
  2. Talking too much
    the interview is a two-way process between you and the recruiter, so you should try your best to listen as much as you want to talk. As much as you want to sell yourself, you should also display good listening skills by listening more and talking when you are asked to.
  3. Talking in clichés 
    when you are talking to the recruiter during the interview, everything you are going to say should be specifically targeted to why you are the best person for that particular job, and not using generic statements that doesn’t relate to you performing that task.
  1. Thinking that you are only being judged in the interview room
    the interview room is not a court room where you are going to be judged or condemned. Yes you are going to be judged based on your performance, but the reason for an interview is to know if you are the best person for the job.
  1. Having a poor first impression
    the first impression you give about yourself matters a lot during your interview. Make sure you act friendly to the people you see in the environment, you never can tell who the recruiter is.
  1. Being the first to ask about salary
    you should never make the mistake to initiate a salary negotiation during your interview. Doing that can put you in a disadvantaged position to earn below the set amount if poorly negotiated. Being the first to ask about a salary during an interview will make you sound desperate.
  1. Poor body language
    extra-linguistic means of communication tells so much about you even more than what you think. You should always maintain proper body language like good eye contact etc.
  1. Appearing arrogant or rude
    no employer will look forward to employing an arrogant or rude person. You should be very careful not to appear or sound rude to your prospective employer.
  1. Using yes or no answers
    you should avoid giving yes or no answers to questions. You should be able to sustain a conversation and give detailed answers to questions.
  1. Not speaking with confidence and authority
    you should believe in your skills and abilities to be confidence during your interview. You should speak with confidence why you are the best person for the position.
  1. Forgetting your manners
    you should not forget to be of your best behavior during your interview. Don’t be carried away by the discussion and loose guard on your manners.
  1. Making up answers
    one mistake you should never make during your interview is to make up answers to questions. Lying about yourself will definitely have a way of getting back at you.

General Mistakes

  1. Being too personal about your job-search
    you don’t have to be too personal about your job search, you can seek career advice from people that have gone ahead of you.
  1. Approaching your job-search through traditional means
    the approach to job-search has really changed over time. So approaching your job-search from the traditional means of taking hard copies of your CV to companies may not be effective anymore. You can search and apply for verified job on leading job sites such as this one
  1. Not being open to new possibilities
    As much as you want to specific with your job-search, you should also be open to re-directing or changing your career as the corporate world experience new job trends. You should be open to new possibilities and avoid building a career that will likely go extinct.
  1. Not believing in yourself
    before you can convince your prospective employer to believe in you, you should first of all believe in yourself. Take out time to believe in yourself before you make an attempt to convince your employer to believe in you.
  1. Looking for job postings alone
    you don’t rely on online job postings alone to land your dream job. According to research, many jobs are hidden, so you have access the hidden job market to be open to possibilities.
  1. Ineffective networking
    networking with the right people can make your job search journey less stressful and more effective. Look out for networking platforms like and network with industry expert and fellow job-seekers to lean more.
  1. Not using a variety of resources to search for a job
    you should not be stereotyped when you are searching for a job. Use a variety of means to make your job-search less stressful. You can make use of online job boards, social media etc.
  1. Not planning your job search
    your search period should be a planned. You should make plans on the means and strategies that you are going to use during your job-search. You are likely to get more result when you plan your job-search properly. Planning includes; your cover letter, CV, application means etc.
  1. Relying on advertised jobs for job leads
    you don’t rely on just advertised job alone to get job leads. According to research, more than half of available job s are unadvertised. You should also look out for unadvertised jobs by networking etc. 
  1. Spamming the hiring manager
    one mistake you should never make is to spam you’re your hiring manager. Doing that immediately shows that you are fraudulent and desperate.
  1. Applying for jobs you are unqualified for
    making the mistake of applying for a job that you are unqualified for is wasting the effort you put into preparing your CV and cover letter. It is not smart for you to do that.
  1. Not using only few job boards when searching for a job online
    it is not advisable for you to use different job boards and scatter your CV all around the internet, it is better for you to use few job boards so you can monitor your applications and keep track of them.

Job Application Mistakes

  1. Not following the directions provided 
    recruiters often give instructions and directions as to how to apply when they post a job vacancy. One mistake you should never make is to skip any of those instruction. Not following the instruction can disqualify you from the job from the onset.
  1. Applying in an indiscriminate manner
    you should avoid applying for jobs indiscriminately because you need a job. Your application should be purpose driven. You should always apply for jobs that you are interested in and not merely apply for any job because you just want to apply.
  1. Sending empty mails
    Avoid making the mistake of sending an empty mail to your recruiter or sending a mail without a subject. Sending these kind of mails can disqualify from the job.
  1. Attaching file without a note that clearly states that
    attaching a document without a note that states that or a subject of the mail can make your mail look empty and irrelevant. You can simply say “find attached document”. This reminds the reader that there is an attachment to the mail. 
  1. Leaving a field blank on the application board
    when you applying on online platforms, don’t forget to fill out all the necessary fields. Leaving out some fields can make your application invalid.
  2. Forgetting to attach the correct document
    after you must have stated that there is an attachment, you should make sure you attach the right file or document. Sending a mail without an attachment and attaching it later may render your application invalid.
  1. Poor email etiquette
    there are some rules you have to adhere to send an official mail. You fill in the subject field correctly, give a proper introduction in the body of the mail, and conclude properly. You may also need to follow some instructions that the company may give.
  2. Not keeping a good social media presence
    when you are applying for a job, don’t forget to keep clean social media handles. You should have a strong social media presence when searching and applying for jobs. Many job are advertised on social media platforms.

The job search process can be extremely tedious. Finding the right job can be a stepping stone to achieving great career success. But, you have to put in the effort to make your job-search process a fulfilling one by avoiding all these mistakes and finally landing your dream job.

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