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Job Hunting, Job Search Tips

What’s the #1 Mistake Job Seekers Are Making These Days? (pt. 2)

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Recently I asked a question on a LinkedIn discussion group: what’s the #1 mistake job seekers are making these days?

I was hoping for a few answers but was unprepared for the interest this question generated. I was gratified by the level of response and the amount of feedback I received.

While I cannot include all the responses in this document without overwhelming it, I can discuss the major points.


#3. Getting lazy with resumes

Until a few years ago I never had a resume. I never needed one. I got my first job after college by walking into the targeted company’s Human Resource office and asked to fill out a job application. I talked with a supervisor, took some job assessments, and got a phone call a couple of days later with a job offer. I worked with the same company for 15 years; it wasn’t until after that time that I put together a resume.

Many jobseekers who have been working for several years know what I’m talking about. When I got out of college, resumes were only for executive positions. The average jobseeker only needed to strike up a conversation with a supervisor, or drop off an application at a human resource office, and they could be hired immediately if the employer liked what he saw.

Writing a resume is no easy task, particularly if it’s your first. It’s not something we have to worry about every day. So we research resumes online, take a resume writing workshop, put together a basic resume, send it out to employers, and pray. Most of the time, nothing happens.

As I look at jobseeker resumes I can see why. The resumes might be too short—or too long. They might lack basic essentials like dates or education. They might contain typographical, grammatical, or formatting errors. They might not adequately describe the jobseeker’s skills and accomplishments. They might not address (or target) the specific job requirements or how the jobseeker can benefit the specific employer.

Resumes are tedious I know. Targeting a resume to a specific job and highlighting specific skills and accomplishments pertinent to the position takes time and effort. But it’s a necessary evil.

Some people will hire consultants or companies to make a resume for them. It provides a kind of comfort knowing that an expert is working on it for you. Trouble is, that person doesn’t know you well enough to do you justice. Additionally, you’ll only end up with a generic resume, and you’ll have to tweak it to target specific jobs yourself.

#4. Underselling yourself

Most cultures teach that we are not to brag about ourselves. Consequently, when it is time for us to talk to an employer, our natural reserve might cheat us out of a job opportunity.

Employers are of course looking for the most qualified candidate. It is up to the job seeker to convince the employer of the value they can bring to the job and that they are the most qualified candidate, and be able to back up those assertions with actual examples. We cannot rely on anyone else to endorse our value—we have to do it ourselves.

Before the jobseeker can sell the employer on their skills, experience and value to the company, the jobseeker has to understand fully the scope of his own worth. Taking skills assessments can help to complete the picture. Asking friends and coworkers or former coworkers for their feedback can help as well.

This may sound like trying to bolster your own self esteem and in a way it does. First of all, you cannot hope to sell your value to an employer if you do not fully appreciate it yourself. Second, when you get hit with all those rejections—and they need to be expected—you can stand up better under the onslaught.



About kimberlyjmyers

I am a workforce development professional in Washington State. I have ten years experience working with dislocated workers, vocationally impaired, and people with disabilities on many levels and backgrounds from offenders to non-English speaking refugees from around the world. The One thing the clients I have worked with all had in common: there was some barrier to employment, and I work diligently every day to identify, address and remove those barriers.



  1. Pingback: What’s the #1 Mistake Job Seekers Are Making These Days? (pt. 3) « Job Seeking Today - November 29, 2011

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