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  • Writer's pictureLori A. Jazvac, MRW

Job Search Audit: The Top 7 Job Search Mistakes to Correct this Spring

Once a jobseeker has a compelling resume package, the job searching begins and takes on a whole new level.

The key is leveraging your resume in conjunction with your strategic marketing tools to brand yourself. Know what sets you apart and articulate your unique offerings. Leverage your existing and new networks to further your job search.

Job search strategies have changed considerably over the years. Yet, jobseekers are still using traditional job search methods and employing an outdated mindset to search for work.

This spring, conduct a job search audit and ensure that you screen out the ineffective job search strategies and replace with the ones that work.

Here are the top seven job search mistakes that jobseekers often make:

Not Targeting Your Job Search.

Firstly, evaluate what kinds of jobs are you interested in. What kind of company do you want to work for? If your answer is, “I don’t care, I just need a job,” your job search is less likely to be successful than if you spend some time thinking about where you want to work, in what industry, what you want to do and what types of problems do you want to solve.

Not Making It Easy for an Employer to See How You’d Fit In.

Generic resumes don’t attract employer attention. Instead, you need to show an employer how you can add value to their company and to the role with a branded resume package. You need to customize your tool for the job. You can’t expect to use the same resume to apply for vastly different jobs — for example, a teaching position and an administrative assistant role. Figure out the key components of the job and then showcase how you can do those responsibilities in your resume.

Being Unprepared For Your Job Search.

You need effective marketing tools to help you succeed in your job search. An updated, targeted resume is the first step. A “complete” LinkedIn profile with at least 150 connections is the second step. Don’t forget about integrating customized cover letters and thank you letters that draw the employer's attention and demonstrate your added value. Research the answers to the top 20 interview questions you might be expected to answer. You wouldn’t go into battle unarmed – don’t go into a job search unprepared.

Confusing Activity With Action.

Many jobseekers confuse “busywork” with progress by spending a considerable amount of time researching jobs online and applying for lots of positions. While it’s recommended that you spend at least an hour a day on your job search if you are currently employed -- and two to three times that if you are currently unemployed --, track how much time you are spending and what you are spending it on.

Spend your time on high value tasks — such as identifying and researching companies you’d like to work for, and connecting directly with hiring managers and recruiters. Have coffee with someone who works for the company you’re applying at — rather than just spending time in front of your computer.

Paying Attention to Other People’s Opinions.

I often hear from clients different myths and opinions that circle the labour market and job search sphere: “My friend suggested this…” or “You have to do this,” or “You shouldn't do that.” Everyone has an opinion about how to conduct a job search. Some of it can be confusing – and some of it is just inaccurate. Your friends and family may not completed updated or accurate about how the modern job search process really works, and it might affect your chances of landing your dream job.

The bottom line: Trust your resume writer/career professional, and trust your instincts.

Don’t believe everything you read online. Remember that one person’s opinion is just that — one person’s opinion. What works for someone else may not work for you. Why? Your particular situation along with your professional experience, education, history, career goals and needs, values and offerings are unique. You need to focus on your own job search.

Applying Only Through Traditional Means.

You see a job posted on for a job you’re really interested in. Do you click “Apply Now”? First look to see if the job is advertised on the company’s own website. Applying on the company’s website is generally preferred to applying through a job search portal, even if the application button takes you to the same form. That way, it will list the source of the application as the company website, and not After you apply online, don’t stop there.

  • See if you are already connected with someone at the company. Reach out to that professional and see if you can find the name of the hiring manager.

  • Connect with the hiring manager directly by email or phone. Follow up by mailing a print copy of your resume.

  • Utilize a combination of different job search methods and find out what works best for you. Record your progress and monitor it.

Not Following All the Way Through.

Sometimes you’ll apply for a job, get selected for an interview, and not receive the offer. Many jobseekers fail to follow through and play the waiting game. Do you ever catch yourself thinking, “What if I had followed through properly – maybe I would have gotten that job offer.” This happens.

The question is: What can you learn from this experience? If you don’t follow through, you can’t use the experience to get closer to your dream job.

Remember: Always follow up!

Don’t be afraid to reach out to the hiring manager and thank them for the opportunity to meet with them. Ask for their honest advice about what you could do better in future interviews. Inquire about the candidate who got hired. What specific qualifications, skills, education, or experience did they have? Sometimes you won’t be able to get an answer to your questions — but it may be helpful if you did!

For a prosperous job search:

*Don’t forget that people hire people. Connecting to the right person at a company can make the difference between getting hired, and not even getting a response to your application.

*Try not to get frustrated – stay focused and positive. The average length of time for a job search has steadily increased over the past few years. So don’t be discouraged if it takes a few days … or weeks … to hear back after applying or interviewing. Be consistent and proactive in your job search – never give up – focus on the positive outcome and commend yourself on small efforts achieved, which lead to larger milestones.

*Don’t spend too much time online. It’s estimated that 75 percent of jobs are never advertised — so it’s likely that the job you want can’t be found while you’re sitting at your computer. Get out and talk to people you know and meet new people! Unleash the hidden job market's capabilities.

*Leverage your support networks. Job search is difficult, but enlisting a support network to guide, motivate, and encourage you will maximize your chance of landing a job where you will thrive. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. But make sure you’re asking for the right kind of help. Ask specific questions.

Remember, a professional resume writer, career coach, or even a counsellor can be a valuable part of your support network. To climb the job search mountain, engage a “career navigator” to help you along the way!

For more information, contact Creative Horizons Communications at or visit This spring, use empowering strategies to secure your targeted role and stay informed with the latest career news.

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