Job Seeker No-Nos | Richland Library Skip to content

Job Seeker No-Nos

I recently read an article by Patti Breckenridge, Manager of Talent Acquisition at Publix Super Markets. After reviewing 1000s of résumés each year, she details the most common mistakes job seekers make. If you have been applying for 100s of jobs and sending the same résumés and cover letters but not getting many call backs, you may be guilty of one of these Top 10 Job Seeker No-no’s (words in bold are hers.)

The wrong cover letter is attached. No generic or form cover letters! Make sure each one you write is tailored for the job and that you send the right cover letter to the right employer!

Your cover letter is nothing but fluff. Use your cover letter to specifically highlight why you are a better choice than all the other candidates. Don’t repeat everything on your résumé but let them know right up front your best qualifications for the job.

Your résumé lacks specifics. Carefully check your résumé to ensure it includes specific details about your past accomplishments and responsibilities. Read the job posting and make sure your résumé addresses each key requirement or desire.

The required qualifications are ignored. Don’t apply for jobs you are not truly qualified to get. You are wasting your time and the employer’s. Breckenridge adds that “you tell the recruiter and the hiring manager that you either can’t read or you ignore important details.”

Your grasp of the English language is tenuous. Simply put, no grammar or spellings errors allowed! Breckenridge writes, “I find misspellings, grammar errors or misuse of words in at least one-fourth of the resumes I read. For jobs that require writing of any kind, this can be a death knell on your chances of even getting an interview.”

You’re a job hopper. Unfortunately, having a history of only staying in a job for a year or two sends a red flag to potential employers. Overcome this barrier to employment with a great cover letter and résumé. We can help at the Business and Job Center!

You use the scatter-gun approach. Don’t apply for every position listed on the company’s career page. Not only are you most likely not qualified, employers notice that you are not being specific and they will stop taking you seriously for future positions.

You don’t watch your email (or your spam folder). It’s not enough to have an email address. You have to check no less than once a week. Recruiter or hiring manager messages and form letters will be emailed to you. If you do not check your email regularly and miss an important message, not only do you lose out an opportunity but you are also letting the employer know you are not serious about wanting a job.

Your references aren’t convincing. Be sure you have 3 good professional references – people who have experienced your brand at work and will speak specifically about how you perform on the job.

You repeat these mistakes over and over. Hiring managers will notice consistent mistakes. If you are getting call backs, let’s review your marketing tools and job search strategies. You may be repeating mistakes that are holding you back.