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Top 10 Job Seeker Mistakes

It is often said that looking for a new job is a job in itself. And, with today’s job market is as competitive as it has ever been with some vacancies receiving as many as one hundred applications, it is imperative that your application stand out from the pack. But, if you don’t get the basic of your job search right, then the mistakes you make will prolong and possibly eliminate your chances of landing the job you want.
Here are some of the most common job seeker mistakes that can prevent you from securing your next job.
1. Lack of plan and objective setting
The old adage “fail to plan, plan to fail” is as true now as it has ever been. If you know where you want to be and the job you want, it is easier to get there. Todd Bermont, author of ’10 Insider Secrets to a Winning Job Search: Everything You Need to Get the Job’ you Want in 24 Hours or Less, suggests: “Before embarking on a job hunt, you must determine your ideal job and go for it. Otherwise it is like going on holiday without deciding where to go before you start driving. If you don’t know the destination, how can you map out a route??”
2. Failing to keep your job search a secret
A recent survey by, found that 64% of job seekers have been caught by their boss searching the web for a new job. So don’t use your company email address on any job applications and create a personal email account specifically for your job search. And, don’t blindly go gung-ho copying and pasting your CV on every job board you find without first considering that your current employer may be using the web to search for new candidates. The last thing you want is for your boss to find your details. Ensure that you post it onto job boards such as that allow you to keep your contact information confidential.
3. Jeopardising your current job
You have resolved to find yourself a new job, but don’t shoot yourself in the foot by making colleagues and your boss suspicious if you start slacking. If you don’t land another job then you have to stay where you are for a while longer, and you could be putting your existing position under threat. Remember, you may need your boss to provide you with a reference.
4. Using the scattergun approach and not doing your homework
Most job hunters fall into the trap of applying for jobs on the internet using a blanket approach. But, this alienates prospective employers because applications are de-personalised, untailored and fail to address the requirements that that particular company looks for. Find out everything you can about the organisation from the internet, previous job adverts, networking or simply by telephoning the company themselves and talking informally with a member of the staff.
5. Customise your CV and covering letter
It may seem tempting to simply cut and paste the same CV and covering letter to several employers, but it could cost you in the long run. Tailor your CV to the job you are applying and only include relevant information that will demonstrate how your experience links to the advertised position.
6. Failure to follow-up
Don’t wait for an employer to respond to your application. It is possible that they will receive several CVs every day and they may not have time to respond on an individual basis. Telephone or email the employer a week later to establish personal contact and gauge if you are likely to be considered should a suitable position arise. If not, then use this as an opportunity to ask for feedback which will help improve your chances for future applications.
7. Poorly arranged interviews
Arrange interviews before or after normal business hours as much as possible. But, if it’s unavoidable then schedule them during lunchtimes or arrange annual leave for a day and schedule multiple interviews on one day. But remember to be subtle – if you typically wear jeans to work but suddenly start dressing in a suit, questions will soon be asked. So, don’t advertise the fact that you are looking for another job.
8. Dressing inappropriately
Shakespeare once said: “Apparel oft proclaims the man,” and dressing successfully (or unsuccessfully) can make or break your job interview. Avoid showing off your “assets”.  A survey by Lawrence University in the US, revealed that women who dress more like Hilary Clinton or Natasha Kaplinsky are more likely to get hired and promoted than someone, say Pamela Anderson, who looks like they are auditioning for a job at Spearmint Rhino. There is no excuse for not getting out to the shops to get a great bargain on new professional-looking clothes to replace the old tired worn-out suit that has seen better days.
9. Errors on your CV
Your CV is designed to do just one thing: to get you an interview. The average recruiter will only spend between 20 to 30 seconds glancing at a CV. But, nearly half of all CVs contain grammatical and spelling errors, which can mean the difference to being short-listed or not, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).
10. Lack of confidence
Job seeking is never easy and there will be times when you will want to give up and resign yourself to staying in your current job. Don’t give up. Experts estimate that the average job search can last anywhere from two to 10 months. So be patient and have the belief that you will find your dream job just around the corner.
Finally, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, then you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.

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