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5 Common Job Seeker Mistakes You Might Be Making

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If you’ve been applying for jobs but keep getting turned down, it may not be that you don’t have the necessary skills. It might be that you’re making some simple mistakes during the application process that have prevented you from getting a new job.

CareerBuilder surveyed over 3,000 professionals about how they apply for jobs. The results of the survey highlighted some of the most common mistakes job seekers make when applying for jobs.

54% don’t customize their resume for each employer

Since they see dozens, perhaps hundreds, of resumes a day, It’s easy for recruiters and hiring managers to spot a generic resume. Submitting a generic resume could eliminate you from contention right away. 

Moving forward, you should customize your resume for each job application by using keywords from the job posting. Employers are increasingly using software called Applicant Tracking Systems to manage their hiring. These applications feature a keyword search tool that combs through applicant resumes to identify specific keywords related to the position. If you don’t use the right keywords, your resume could get lost in the shuffle. 

84% don’t find out the hiring manager’s name and personalize the application

If you can, avoid starting your cover letter or application with “To whom this may concern.” Do some research to find out who the hiring manager is and address your cover letter or application to that person. Speaking directly to the hiring manager personalizes your application and shows that you are willing to go the extra mile. 

To find the hiring manager’s name, check the job posting. If it’s not listed there, check out LinkedIn to see if you can find the manager for the department for which you are applying. If that doesn’t work, you can always call the HR department for the company you are applying to and ask who the hiring manager is for the position.

45% don’t include a cover letter with their resume

For some, a cover letter might seem pointless. But a cover letter is one of the most important aspects of any job search. A well-written cover letter can create a positive first impression and encourage the hiring manager to read your resume.

In your cover letter, don’t just regurgitate your resume. Instead, tell the hiring manager about the skills you have that make you the best candidate for the position. Your cover letter should tell the hiring manager what you can do for them, not how great the position would be for you. Let them know how your skills and experience will help you improve their organization.

37% don’t follow up with an employer after they applied

When they are looking to hire someone, employers are inundated with applications. Following up with the hiring manager a week or so after you submit your application can help you stand out from the crowd. If possible, give them a call. If you don’t have their phone number, an email is a great way to follow up. Let them know how interested you are in the position and why you believe you’d be an excellent fit. 

57% don’t send thank-you notes after an interview

When interviewing, you want to leave a positive impression. One way to accomplish this is to follow up with your interviewer in an email or handwritten letter. Following up after an interview is extremely important for two reasons: One, so you can thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you, and two, so you can reiterate why you’re the best candidate for the position. Make sure to recap your skills and state how the company will benefit from hiring you. 


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