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Top 6 Job Search Gaffes—And How to Avoid Making Them

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By Ranjay Sarda

Regional Director of Business Development

Ready to begin your next job search? Making a suitable first impression on prospective employers with your resume, during your interview, and throughout the hiring process is critical to your overall success.

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To improve job search results and land the employment offer you’ve long been waiting for, here are six common job search gaffes that candidates should avoid.

Lacking a focused strategy

Before initiating your job search, candidates should first develop an understanding of the type of job they’re seeking—along with an idea of the company they’re hoping to work for. Are you looking to change careers or stick with what you know? Do you want to work in the same industry or try something different? In addition, job seekers need to set parameters around their job search. Namely, candidates should come up with an appropriate salary range, determine whether they’re willing to relocate, and formulate a list of must-have benefits that come with the position.

Not having your resume proofread

Just like any piece of writing—whether it be a formal paper, a letter, or an email—getting a second set of eyes on your work is never a bad idea. Other than catching misspellings or grammatical errors, have your proofreader search for discrepancies in the style of your resume. Are your bullets aligned properly? Is your spacing consistent throughout the document? Although these details are small, having your “ducks in a row” is critical to impress the recruiter or hiring manager that’s examining your resume.

Being unprepared for questions

They say practice makes perfect—especially when preparing for interview questions. Prepping for an interview is an oft-forgotten step in the recruiting process. Regardless of whether an interview is held in person or conducted virtually, candidates need to rehearse their responses well in advance of the conversation. Have a family member or a friend pose questions to you to see how you perform. You can even record yourself during this mock interview to see if there are any changes you’d make to the tone of your voice or alterations you’d make to your facial expressions.

Want some valuable practice before your upcoming interview? Check out these expert interview tips for job candidates.

Underdressing for the interview

When it comes to candidate interviews, it’s always a good idea to be overdressed versus underdressed. Your style of dress says a lot about how seriously you’re taking the interview. For men, make sure your dress shirt is neatly ironed, your tie is properly knotted, and your suit is free from wrinkles. For women, sporting a blazer with a button-down shirt or a dress with tights is appropriate. Whatever you choose to wear to your interview, always remember to look as polished and professional as possible!

Need to pick out the right color to wear to your interview? Discover more about the best colors to wear—and those that should be avoided—during an interview.

Failing to confirm references

Upon completing your interview, your prospective employer may ask for a few professional references to confirm your credentials and generate a better understanding of your character. A cardinal sin within the job search process is not confirming with your references that you’ll be giving their name and contact information during the application process. Be sure to check with your references that they’re comfortable being listed as such during this step in the application process.

Have you made it to the reference-checking step of the recruiting process? Here are some things to think about when choosing a professional reference.

Underselling yourself

During a job search, your biggest advocate is YOU. Understanding your value and knowing your worth are imperative to your success. Don’t undersell yourself or your abilities; instead, look for a position that aligns with your skillset, previous experience, and passions. Talk about the many things you bring to the table. Shed light on your professional accomplishments and areas of expertise. Ultimately, find a job that allows you to prove yourself. If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to a fulfilling career!

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On the hunt for an exciting new career?