What NOT to Do During Your Job Search

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You should always strive to make a good first impression when applying for a job, but it’s not necessarily easy to do that. You can ask for advice, but then you need to filter the good from the bad advice. Be careful who you’re seeking guidance from—to ensure that you’re getting good counsel, hire a career coach. These professionals are trained to offer solid advice to help you excel in your job search. They will certainly caution you against doing certain things. 

So, what should you not do while trying to land a job? 

Don’t apply for every job you see

When you’re trying to find a job, you may be tempted to apply for every single one you see, hoping that one of them works out. After all, the more applications you send, the greater your chances of landing a job, right? Well, no. This sounds like logical advice, but it doesn’t really increase your chances of securing the job you want; in fact, it even harms them. Here’s why:

  • Applying for any job out there probably means that you’re submitting a generic resume. Such resumes almost never get past the applicant tracking systems (ATSs) that most companies use nowadays to narrow down the list of candidates since it doesn’t include keywords that the hiring manager is looking for. Even if your resume does make it past the ATS, hiring managers can smell a generic submission from a mile away.
  • You may end up applying for multiple positions at the same company, which screams desperation. This is likely to get you disqualified even if you are well-suited to the job. 
  • You’re likely to hastily accept the first job offer you receive without fully reviewing what it entails or the employment contract, and it may not be the best job for you.

Instead of sending out your resume en masse, be patient and wait for jobs that you’d love doing. It’s up to you to determine what you want, but compromising won’t get you a job you desire. If you start getting desperate, reevaluate your conditions and adjust them accordingly but intelligently. 

Don’t be a people pleaser

When you want a particular job badly, it can be easy to do and say whatever is necessary to please the right people. No matter how tempting it may be to say “yes,” you shouldn’t do that during the hiring process. Here’s why:

  • You may end up accepting responsibilities that you’re not qualified or paid for. Hiring managers have their company’s best interest at heart, and if that means pushing more responsibilities on you, they may try to do it. If you’re a people pleaser, you open yourself up to exploitation, which, in addition to earning you less money than you’re worth, can also breed feelings of resentment that you may take out on your employer and co-workers.
  • You may end up trying too hard to get them to notice you. It’s always polite to send a thank-you note after an interview, but don’t use it as an opportunity to follow up on your interview. Also, don’t send a gift— that indicates you’re desperate. Just as you would be creeped out by someone who proposes marriage on a first date, hiring managers will be put off by over-the-top gestures. They will notice you, but not in a good way.

You may naturally lean toward being a people pleaser, but it’s important to rein that in during the hiring process. Perhaps you think it’ll help you get the job, and that could be true, but it could also be why you don’t remain at that job for very long. Stay true to yourself and your qualifications.

Don’t stretch the truth (even a little)

Who’s going to know if you lie a little bit on your resume or during your interview? Well, besides being an unethical thing to do, you’re also setting yourself up for failure. Here’s what to avoid during your job search:

  • Don’t stretch the truth on your resume. You may come off as overqualified if you list every qualification the employer is looking for. You may think that’s how you get the job, but they will eventually find out your true strengths and weaknesses. Then they’ll know you lied, and your credibility will be shot. It’s best to be honest, even if that means demonstrating that you are underqualified for the position.
  • Don’t brag about all your previous accomplishments because this could lead to stretching the truth about what you’ve really accomplished. It’s good to be proud of your successes, but don’t make them out to be more than they are. You definitely want to talk about your achievements—they’re among the most crucial tidbits to offer the hiring manager—but it’s vital to stay truthful and not sound arrogant.

Besides being blatantly unethical, lying has serious consequences. When you lie to secure employment, you may have to keep lying to hold on to the job. If you lied about your qualifications, the truth will come out quickly when you simply can’t live up to your resume.  

When times get tough, it can be easy to follow bad advice to get ahead a little bit. Are you trying to decide if the advice you’ve been given is good? Let our career coaches help you figure it out!

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