10 Dumb Things Holding You Back From Getting a New Job


For those of us looking for work, more work, or better work, the odds aren't always stacked in our favor. We all know the essentials, the big things that can make or break our applications. But what about the little things, the dumb things, that can steal victory right out of our hands? Don't let these mistakes stand in your way. (See also: 14 Proven Strategies for Landing Jobs)

1. You're Not Looking in the Right Places

Don't limit your search to one or two listings. Occassionally browsing Monster.com isn't going to cut it if you're serious about getting a job. Attack the search engines. Find online groups and forums in your field. They will link you to numerous job listing sites. Utilize LinkedIn. Contact people in your network. The wider your net, the better your catch will be. (See also: 6 Unconventional Ways to Find Your Next Job)

2. You're Not Selling Yourself

As a job hunter, you should be running a full marketing campaign on yourself. This includes every marketing channel you can find, from online profiles to cover letters, resumes, networking, even direct advertisements if you're so inclined. And your message shouldn't be simply informative. You should be selling yourself. Don't be humble. Highlight your selling points. Pitch your value. (See also: How to See Yourself to Potential Employers)

3. You Have Weak Social Media Profiles

Speaking of marketing channels, everyone knows not to leave compromising images or information posted on their social media profiles, but many fail to use these profiles as a meaningful part of their job hunt. Employers regularly check these pages, and in this job market, any opportunity to stand out should be taken full advantage of. Your profiles can be crafted into targeted marketing channels, actively participating in landing you a job. (See also: Get the Job You Want With the Right Professional Image)

4. You're Not Following Directions

Did the application say, "Include 'I'm your new hire' in the email header," but you didn't bother reading that paragraph? Did the directions tell you to answer in bullet points but you wrote paragraphs? Failing to follow simple instructions is quite possibly the dumbest reason to bomb an application. (See also: 8 Ways to Get Noticed During a Job Search)

5. Your Applications Have Typos, Spelling Errors, or Grammar Mistakes

Correct grammar and spelling are the easiest things to get right on a resume, application email, or cover letter. Sure, you need to be thorough, but spell-check typically does the heavy lifting anyway. The key is to remember that spell-check is an editing tool, not an editor. Never send out written materials until you've thoroughly reread them at least twice (and once more aloud). (See also: 12 Words You Need to Delete From Your Resume Right Now)

6. You Write Long-Winded Cover Letters

Your cover letter should never exceed a single page. You have five brief paragraphs MAX to detail why you are the right fit for the position. Get to the point, brag about yourself where it counts, and close. The cover letter is your chance to supplement your work history with something meaningful, not list additional information. (See also: Stupid Things to Put in Your Cover Letter)

7. You Employ Tactless Name Dropping

If you know someone at the business you're applying to, great! You should absolutely mention them in your cover letter. But don't be tactlessly obvious. Mentioning your association should be done in a way that's relevant to the overall message of your cover letter. If you can remove the name-dropping sentence with no consequence to the flow of your letter, there's a problem. (See also: 15 Bad Networking Habits That Will Kill Your Job Prospects)

8. You're Focusing on You

This may sound harsh, but the company you're applying to isn't really interested in your career story. They're not interested in solving your employment situation. What they are invested in is solving their own business problems. Talking about yourself is a sure-fire way to be ignored. Talking about how you will bring value to the business, however, will get your foot in the door. (See also: This Interview Technique Will Get You Hired)

9. You're Trying Too Hard

Nobody likes desperate, and overreaching can cause mistakes. Doing highly detailed research on your target company and making a grand show reeks of desperation. It tells the company you're probably not employable. Approach every potential job like you have options. (See also: 8 Common Job-Hunt Tips You Should Ignore)

10. You're Not Trying Hard Enough

On the flip side of the coin, companies don't want prima donnas on their rosters. They want to know that you are genuinely interested in working for their company. If you can't even answer a basic question about the company's product line, background, or brand, you won't be receiving many offers. Dress the part. Clean yourself up. Arrive on time. Don't let the dumb little things hold you back. (See also: This Is How You Get A New Job This Year)

What's the dumbest job hunt mistake you've ever made (or seen)? Please share in comments!

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