3 Mistakes of People Who Can’t Land a Job

Savanna Jordan
Feb 6 · 4 min read

Avoid these if you’re on the job hunt

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Landing a job can be a daunting, stressful task. I started my first post-grad job hunt the February of my senior year of college. I was armed with internship and student-job experience, a well edited resume, and a strongly formatted cover letter. Even still, I spent hours sending out my resume, had near weekly interviews, and obsessed over applications only to wait for follow up calls that never came.

After months of fruitless job applications and interviews, and with my graduation day looming nearer, I was desperate for just one yes. It took me another few weeks, but I finally got that call — and started my first full time job one month after graduation. Right now, we’re experiencing the most competitive job market seen in years. Whether you’re currently on the job hunt or are waiting to make the leap, avoid these common mistakes when starting your search.

Mistake #1: They Apply to Everything on Indeed, Linked in, or other Job Posting platform

Many applicants will head straight to Indeed, and blast their resume to every job that crops up on their feed. In doing so, they do not take the time to figure out if the company is a good fit for their background, if their resume has key words the employer is looking for, or if they even like the company. Soon, you’ll be receiving emails and calls from companies you don’t even remember applying to, and one quick glance at their Glassdoor page will make you want to run swiftly in the opposite direction. This will waste your time, and the hiring manager’s time who is looking at your application.

A Better Approach

Instead, sit down and choose a handful of job postings that match your skills, interests, and goals. You don’t have to narrow this list down too aggressively, but be sure to apply to companies you would realistically be happy to hear back from. Through this, you’ll save yourself the time and anxiety of mass messaging companies you have no plans on actually working for. You will also give yourself the chance to tailor down your resume to each specific job posting using key phrases from the post.

Mistake #2: They Lack Confidence

Like most post-grads know, applying for your first salaried job is terrifying. But, you cannot allow this fear to hold you back from going after what you want and deserve. It’s easy to only apply for jobs that pay less than your desired starting salary, or require less experience that you have. But if you only apply for jobs you think are easy to get, and lowball yourself, you won’t ever know your true potential. If you walk (or zoom dial) into an interview and feel like you don’t deserve the position you’re applying to, the interviewer will know it and take your anxiety as a warning sign not to hire you. Hiring managers need to trust that the people they push through rounds of interviews are truly capable of the work they’re going to be doing. If you don’t show them you’re a good bet, they won’t believe in you.

A Better Approach

If you have internship or work experience, leverage that when applying for jobs. Don’t be afraid that the hiring manager won’t be impressed by your resume, or worry that you don’t lack the entire list of skills on a job posting. If you are confident in yourself, your experience, and your ability to learn on the job, the hiring manager will see that and feel it, too. Remember that getting a college degree is largely about demonstrating to a future employer that you’re willing to learn, and commit to a task. As a post-grad, you’ve already proven that, and have the ability to grow your skill set on the job. You just need to get through the door, first.

Mistake #3: They Don’t Take Breaks

Most people looking for a job wake up in the morning, start applying, and don’t stop until late in the evening. Then, they go to sleep and in the morning, they rinse and repeat. They have job alerts turned on for their phone, and are the first one to apply to any new job opening. They refresh their email looking for updates on their applications, emails from companies, or new postings every few minutes. These are the people who apply to every job in a rush, like it’s a race they’re desperate they’re win. With more speed than focus, their applications are half finished, uninteresting, and sloppy.

A Better Approach

Plan ahead on how many applications you want to complete, roughly, per week. This will help keep you motivated and engaged, but will keep you from overworking yourself. This will also give you a chance to try something fresh, reach out to old networks or beef up your LinkedIn profile. It may feel like you’ll miss out on a great opportunity by stepping away, or like you need to be the first applicant to apply to each new posting. But the truth is, you don’t — you need a clear head, a strong application and a fresh perspective.

Job searching can take a lot of time and patience before you see any results. But, if you keep these mistakes in mind and make a plan, you’ll be well on your way to your first job in no time.


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