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10 Ways to Sabotage Your Job Search

10 Ways to Sabotage Your Job Search
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1. Focus on the Negative

Believe it or not, the biggest key to your job search success is your mindset! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or afraid when you’re looking for a new job because there are so many uncertainties, and thinking about all the unknowns and disappointments can quickly become a negative spiral.

The job seeking process almost always takes longer than you think it should, and you have to deal with feelings of rejection every time you are not chosen for a job or don’t get an interview. You need to know that you are not alone! Even the most talented, qualified people struggle during a career transition.

The problem with focusing on all the negative or scary aspects of your job search is that it paralyzes you and hinders the effectiveness of your job search. Negativity can cause you to lose valuable time and miss out on fabulous opportunities. As strange as it may seem, momentum is cumulative. It takes a while to get the first interview, but after you get one interview, others start to follow. The more interviews you get, the more momentum you gain, and soon you have at least one job offer. If you get stuck in a negative spiral in the middle of the process, you lose that momentum and have to work to regain it.

This is why thinking positively impacts your job search so powerfully! Instead of allowing yourself to dwell on all the bad things that have happened and all the jobs you haven’t been hired for, it’s important to remind yourself of every good thing that has happened. Remember all the great conversations you’ve had, the number of applications you’ve completed, the things you’ve learned about yourself, and the value you bring to your next job.

As you focus on the positive, you’ll be motivated to keep going, and your momentum will increase. Before you know it, you’ll be in that next amazing position!

2. Search Only Online Job Boards

Because of the online nature of the hiring process, you can quickly get lost in job description after job description on common job boards. Part of the reason this type of searching is so appealing is that when you are in a vulnerable state as a job seeker, it’s less intimidating to put in applications without any personal contact.

There is nothing wrong with looking at posted jobs; however, you need to understand that this is not the most effective way to get an interview! Your job search will be much more efficient if you focus the majority of your time and effort on strategies that are more likely to get the results you want.

The number one way to get interviews is through networking. This means that more of your time should be spent building and connecting with your network, instead of surfing the Internet for leads.

3. Use the Wrong Resume Format

Not all resume formats are created equal! Using the right format for the right situation is absolutely necessary to get the interviews you want. When you upload your resume into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), you need to be sure that you use a format that will be understood by the system.

The best way to ensure that your resume will be read correctly by the ATS is to upload an unformatted version. Lines, boxes and other formatting can confuse the system and cause only parts of your resume to be uploaded. If the ATS cannot read your information, it may disqualify you for the job you’ve applied for, even if you actually have all the necessary qualifications!

If you are sending your resume as an attachment to an email, you should send a formatted version as a PDF. This ensures that it will retain its formatting, and every reader will be able to read it, regardless of what programs they have on their computer. The only way your resume can land you an interview is if the person who receives it is able to read all of your qualifications.

4. Underestimate Your Value

Looking for a new position brings out your insecurities and exposes your feelings of vulnerability. The more vulnerable you feel, the lower your confidence gets. Our tendency in times of feeling vulnerable is to undervalue ourselves and downplay how much we have to offer. But if you want to successfully market your skills, you have to understand how valuable you are!

Remember that you offer not only your abilities, but your personality, your life experiences and your ambition. Give yourself credit for what you’re really worth!

Even on the days that it seems like no one else can appreciate it, remind yourself that you are a talented and valuable individual with unique value to offer the world.

5. Look for Jobs You Don’t Really Want

Like I said earlier, your job search almost always takes longer than expected. The longer it takes, and the more discouraging it gets, the more you’re tempted to look at other positions just to get something.

Resist the urge to do that!

Applying for jobs that you don’t actually want will only distract you from your goals. You will waste valuable job search time, and the result will either be you turning down the position or wishing you had turned it down.

Stay focused on your goals! Don’t let anything dissuade you. There is a position out there for you that fits who you are and what you want in your career!


This is essential!!! Job searching is a busy, stressful time. You can easily become obsessed with getting the right position and lose sight of some of the basic principles that will improve your career transition. As your job search becomes more intense, you have to become even more intentional about doing the little things to stand out and get noticed.

Every time you speak with a recruiter or HR manager, you need to take time to send them a note to follow up. Thank them for their time, and tell them something specific you appreciated about the conversation or interview. Ask them a question about the next step in the interview process to give them an opportunity to respond to you.

You want to be memorable and to show them that you care about personal relationships. This demonstrates you are not only concerned about your own needs, but you think of ways to benefit other people. It may not seem like a big deal to follow up, but it could be the difference you need. Even if you do not get the position you were interviewing for, there’s a possibility to maintain the relationship and be considered for employment in the future.

7. Send the Same Cover Letter for Every Job

If you are sending the same cover letter for every application, you are missing out on an opportunity to connect with the company. Your cover letter highlights the qualifications that make you an excellent candidate for a specific position, so it needs to be customized for each particular job.

It also is the place for you to connect with the mission and purpose of the organization. You want to show them the reasons you are the best fit for their company culture.

If your cover letter doesn’t connect who you are and what you value with the organization you are applying to work for, it does not give them a good reason to interview you. Use each cover letter not only to point out your best qualities, but also to demonstrate your ideal fit as part of the team.

8. Ignore Application Instructions

Read ALL of the instructions for applying before you begin the process.

Then, read them a second time to make sure you understand them clearly.

Many, many applications are eliminated simply because the applicant did not follow the directions precisely. Don’t let this happen to you! Do not copy and paste the same answers into every application, because they are all different. Do exactly what you are instructed to do.

Pay attention to applications that expressively tell you not to contact them by phone or email. You don’t want to be ignored as a candidate just because you failed to follow directions.

9. Interview Without Researching the Company

When you go to an interview, you need to keep in mind that the purpose of the interview is for you and the company to get to know each other. If you do not know anything about the organization when you arrive, you will indicate to the interviewer that you don’t really care about working specifically for them.

No one wants to hire someone who is just looking for a job. They want to hire people who like their organization and want to be part of the team.

Research and be informed about what the company is about, what its mission is, the values it promotes, and the culture it embodies. Most companies are looking for more than just a set of skills. They want people who will fit with the organization and add to its overall vision and culture.

10. Don’t Prepare Your References

Go beyond asking your references if you can list them on your resume, and have a conversation with them about your career goals and your abilities. Send each reference a copy of your resume, so that they have your information and skills easily accessible. Talk with them about your goals and the position you are seeking.

Ask your references how they would describe your best qualities and what they can see you doing in the career field you are pursuing. Answer any questions they have about you. Preparing your references will not only help them think through what they want to say about you before they get a call or an email, but it will also help you grow in understanding your value from someone else’s perspective.

Avoid these 10 common job search mistakes and land your perfect position faster! Not only will you get your next dream job sooner than you expected, but chances are you’ll also have a lot more fun along the way.

Agolo Uzorka
the authorAgolo Uzorka


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