When we’re in the middle of a job search, we tend to pay meticulous attention to all of our decisions and actions. Should we email or call the hiring manager? How long do we wait to send a thank you note after an interview? What are the protocols for sending connection requests on LinkedIn? Sometimes, we think we know the answers to every possible question, but in reality we’re human, and we’re destined to make mistakes. While job search mistakes are a part of life, some can be fatal to our efforts. Here are a few of them:

1. Not Networking

Some people just hate networking, while some want to avoid being a “nuisance” to other professionals and choose to abstain. However, failing to network can destine your job search efforts for failure before you even truly begin. Networking helps build professional relationships and can open doors to great advice from industry leaders. Plus, practicing your communication skills can help prepare you for those important interviews! The benefits of networking are endless, and the pros indefinitely outweigh any cons. Start networking, and you may be surprised at how quickly your job search picks up.

2. Stretching the Truth

While we hope that most people know it’s wrong to lie on a resume or during an interview, sometimes it can be tempting to stretch the truth. But – we’re begging you – don’t give in! Lying about education or professional experience can be especially fatal, as many hiring managers will do their research, for example by contacting a past colleague via LinkedIn. Plus, even if you get hired by a company, but end up failing to prove the validity of your credentials, you may be let go – and quickly.

3. Not Proofreading

If you’re guilty of just taking a quick glance over your cover letter and resume, you may want to seriously reconsider your proofreading habits. Not only should you re-read your documents (including emails) at least twice, but it’s also smart to ask a friend or colleague to look them over. Even the most competent of candidates’ resumes are sure to be thrown away if they are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. While this may seem silly to some, even the smallest of errors show a lack of proofreading and professionalism – something that easily turns off any hiring manager.

4. Sending a Generic Cover Letter

Hiring managers quickly get sick and tired of reading generic cover letter after generic cover letter, and even though you know you’re a great candidate, your cover letter is no exception from the others. Remember that your cover letter is your way of marketing yourself. The way that your application is received can be completely determined by your cover letter, and – like with spelling and grammatical errors – a bland cover letter can send your application straight to the trash.

5. Forget to Say Thank You

While some hiring managers don’t care too much about thank you letters, others believe they make or break the interview – so it’s always better to err on the safe side and send one. In some cases, such as when the decision is down to two applicants, a thoughtful thank you letter can show that an applicant is willing to go the extra mile to express his or her dedication to the opportunity. Don’t let such a simple task lose you the job!

6. Burning Bridges

We’ve all had that one boss that really drives us nuts, but we also know that those bosses will likely be contacted in the future for a reference. While it’s not realistic to assume that you will get along perfectly with everyone you work with, it’s incredibly important to be nice to everyone. We never know who will pop up in our futures, and who will be valuable to our job search efforts. On a less selfish note though, being kind to your colleagues will make everyone happier, so keep the peace as often as possible and try to work with a smile!

7. Not Doing Your Research

If you’re applying to a company, you should want to work there. Think of your dream company and how excited you would be about the opportunity to be hired by them. Now, apply that passion to every single application you send in! If you don’t know anything about a company, it will be clear in your cover letter and interview, and chances are you won’t get that job. Doing research about a company before you apply will get you excited about doing so, and that excitement will show through to a hiring manager.

Ready to find your new favorite company? We know you’ll find the right one – and that you’ll knock the application process out of the park.  Click here to download Rake and get started!


Also published on Medium.