It is very easy for even the savviest of job seekers to make mistakes. But by learning how to navigate these potential pitfalls from the outset, your search for jobs will be more productive and you won't miss any great job opportunities.
Applying For Jobs That You Aren’t Qualified For
There’s definitely an aspirational part of job hunting, especially if you’re looking to move up. That can be dangerous, though, if it means you’re applying for jobs where you know you don’t quite fit the experience level the company is seeking. On a basic level, it could mean that your resume gets skipped altogether. If your resume makes the cut and you make it to the next point (an interview of some kind), falling short in experience could get your hopes up for an inevitable disappointment when they go with someone who better fits the job description.
Similarly, using phrases like “fast learner” and “adapts to any new role” in your cover letter or resume may sound like a good way to spin if you’re reaching a bit, but you could just be setting yourself up for disappointment and an even longer hunt. The reach-for-the-stars attitude is admirable, but it might not match up with reality.
Applying for Multiple Jobs at the Same Time
Individuals who apply for multiple jobs at the same time on job search sites tend to follow the same pattern. Because they are flooding the job websites with multiple applications, they are not taking the time to individualize job applications to show that they are qualified to fill particular jobs. This is the reason why those who send out multiple applications rarely hear back from recruiters. It is better to take the time to research the company and rework a job application to fit the description of the position.
Sometimes, when we come across a job you're extra excited about, we want to get in our application materials as soon as possible. Crank out the first thing that comes to mind as a cover letter, quickly glance over the resume, and hit the send button as fast as possible. We think that the quicker the hiring manager had your resume in hand, the sooner you’d be called into the office for an interview.
What we don't think about that the next day, when reviewing what you sent we can realize that you left bullet points in the resume that didn’t need to be there, forgot to add a recent and relevant important project, and failed to include a main point in the cover letter about why you want to work at the company. In short, you applied much too fast—and as a result, didn’t come across exactly the way you wanted to.
So don’t rush. It’s much better to spend a few days perfecting your resume and cover letter (and having someone look over it) than be the first application in the hiring manager’s inbox. And always—always—read over your materials before you send them in (especially if they were composed at, say, 2 AM).
Sending Unsolicited Resumes to Recruiters
If you’ve found a company you’re interested in working for and the contact information for someone who works there, that’s a great thing. But don’t just send your resume out of the blue. It’s one of the most common job search mistakes you can make. Ask your contact for advice before applying for a position normally there — if they offer to pass along a recommendation or your resume, that’s great. But let them decide to do it or not.
Recruiters find people for jobs, not jobs for people, so don’t waste your time sending your resume to any recruiter you don’t know unless the job is posted or you know the company is looking for someone just like you! Unsolicited resumes that are not of "all star" caliber or for high-demand candidates are quickly archived.