5 common mistakes a job seeker can make

If you’re currently looking for a new job, it’s important to take a step back and look at your process. Are you doing everything you can to attract the attention of employers?

A small misstep can keep you from landing your dream job, so it’s important to make sure you’re using best practices in your search to optimize your results. There are simple steps you can take to discover more opportunities and increase your chances of getting hired.

Here are some of the worst mistakes you can make while hunting for jobs:

1. Not being present on social professional networks

Did you know that social professional networking sites like LinkedIn are the top source for qualified candidates? Employers will use these sites to connect with you and learn more about your skills and working experience.

If you apply for a job, the recruiter will probably look you up on LinkedIn to learn more about you. And if you don’t have a profile set up, or the one you do have is lackluster, the recruiter will take that as a bad sign and potentially dismiss your application.

2. Submitting a generic cover letter and resume

When you’re applying for many jobs over a short period of time, writing all those cover letters can get exhausting. This is why many applicants use the same basic template over and over again, consisting of their work history and a few other pieces of information about themselves.

Do not slip into this habit. Instead, customize your cover letter and resume for every single application. Make sure your cover letter discusses previous job responsibilities and scenarios that relate to the position you’re applying for. Also, reorganize your resume so that your most relevant work history is listed first.

3. Having a negative social media presence

Recruiters often screen candidates’ social media profiles to get a better sense of who they are outside of work. If you have questionable content on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages, that could hurt your chances of getting the job. So what is questionable content?

For starters, make sure there’s nothing negative or inappropriate on your profile, such as political posts with profane language or pictures of you drinking. Your social media presence conveys how you present yourself to others. And employers don’t want to risk hiring someone who is prone to bad behavior.

4. Going into the interview unprepared

Being unprepared for the interview is perhaps the worst mistake you can make when applying for a job. It will make you look dispassionate in the eyes of the employer.

The best ways to prepare for an interview include doing research into the company, practicing talking points to questions that will likely be asked, and coming up with your own list of questions for the interviewer.

5. Not following up

After the interview, it’s important to send a “thank you” email to the person who interviewed you. And if you don’t hear back from them after a week, follow up with another email.

Checking on the status of your application at least once a week shows the employer that you are still interested and enthusiastic about the opportunity.