Are You Committing Job Search Sabotage?

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Stressed businessman made a mistake on his laptop
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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on

If someone were to ask you, you might objectively state that you’re a diligent job seeker. You reach out to companies to see if they’re hiring, your resume and cover letter have been updated, and you even apply to many positions daily.

So, why aren’t you getting more job offers? Are you committing job search sabotage? Chances are, you might be and not even realize it.

Ultimately, landing a great job takes more than submitting resumes and crossing your fingers. It requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn from mistakes.

If you find yourself repeatedly striking out, it’s time to consider if you’re unwittingly getting in the way.

Blocking Your Own Job Search Success

Upset man using a laptop
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There are many ways that job seekers unknowingly sabotage their own search, and as a result, miss out on great opportunities.

This includes obvious misses, like being late for an interview or not responding to a recruiter, to less obvious ones, such as failing to prepare adequately.

If your job search isn’t bearing the results you’d hoped for, consider if you’re guilty of any of the following.

1. Submitting Generic Resumes With Typos

Employer looking at resume
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One of job seekers’ most common mistakes is sending out generic resumes and cover letters. If you’re doing this, you’re probably not tailoring your materials to each job.

As a result, you’re not making an outstanding impression on potential employers.

Update your bullet points for each job you apply for, and you’ll be more likely to get noticed.

When you take the time to customize and proofread each of your application materials, it shows that you’re a detail-oriented and conscientious applicant. This extra effort will pay off through better job opportunities and more interviews.

2. Dodging Networking Tasks

A young woman in glasses works at a table with a smartphone, tablet and laptop computer
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Networking can be daunting, especially if you’re introverted or shy. However, it’s important to remember that networking is simply about building relationships.

You don’t need to be a gifted salesperson or have superhuman social skills. Instead, focus on being yourself and engaging in genuine conversation.

Make an effort to listen to what the other person is saying, and don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions. And of course, don’t forget to exchange business cards!

If you take the time to build meaningful relationships, networking will become much more enjoyable — and effective.

3. Forgetting To Follow Up

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How organized is your follow-up plan? Do you have a spreadsheet or list that details when you need to follow up with a recruiter regarding your resume?

Are you sending thank-you notes and then reaching out again if you don’t hear from them in the anticipated time frame?

If your answer is no, then you are missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with potential employers. All of these actions show you as an organized and extremely engaged job seeker—attributes that can help bridge any small gaps in your experience.

4. Insufficient Focus on Your Brand

Young woman learning on her laptop
Have a nice day Photo /

When job searching, it’s vital to ensure your personal brand is in good shape. That way, when a recruiter looks you up online, they’ll see an accurate and consistent representation of who you are and what you have to offer.

And if you’re a good fit for the role they’re hiring for, that’ll come through loud and clear. So, how can you make sure your brand is highlighting your strengths?

First, take a look at your social media presence. Are your profiles professional and up to date? Do they reflect the image you want to project and support your resume? If not, it might be time to do some cleanup.

Next, consider your online presence beyond social media. Google your name and see what comes up. If there’s anything you’re not proud of, take steps to fix that.

Finally, think about how your LinkedIn profile presents you. Are you confident and engaging in your groups, adding relevant conversation to industry discussions? If so, that’s great! Keep up the excellent work.

All of these things will help ensure that when recruiters look you up online they can see what an excellent fit you are for the role.

5. Failing To Thoroughly Research a Company

Young woman in job interview
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It’s important to remember that your goal is to find a company that you’re excited about working for. To increase your chances of landing your dream job, ensure you’re devoting sufficient time and energy to researching each company you’re applying to.

Look beyond the job listing itself and take the time to learn about the company’s culture from its social media presence, its website, and LinkedIn profile.

That way, you’ll be able to tailor your submissions better and show your enthusiasm throughout your interactions, both before and during your prospective interviews.

6. Inadequate Interview Preparation

woman doing a job interview
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Speaking of interviewing, one of the best ways to calm your nerves and make a good impression is to practice ahead of time. Learn as much as possible about the company, its products or services, its competitors, and its industry.

This will not only help you ask more intelligent questions, but it will also allow you to demonstrate your knowledge of the business.

Additionally, take some time to review typical interview questions that seem relevant to the company culture. Consider having a mock interview and practicing your responses.

By being prepared, you can confidently enter the discussion and make a strong impression on the hiring manager.

7. Sluggish Responses to a Recruiter

Upset woman taking a phone call
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When a recruiter calls or emails you, it’s vital to follow up promptly. That doesn’t mean you need to stare at your inbox all day, and you definitely should refrain from answering a phone call when the background noise will make it challenging to have a professional conversation.

However, it would be best if you made it a goal to return calls the same day or first thing the next morning at the latest.

To ensure you’re not missing any critical correspondence, consider creating a separate email that you reserve for your job search. This will make it much easier to see when a new message arrives.

You can also set up alerts on your phone to know immediately if someone has reached out to you.

Becoming Your Own Advocate

Businesswoman using a laptop
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Avoiding self-sabotaging behaviors can help you be an exceptional job candidate. Sometimes, all it takes is a shift in perspective and taking the time to focus on your entire presentation from the recruiter’s perspective.

Are you ready to start standing out from the competition? Try implementing some of these strategies today and see how they make a difference in your job search.

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