Article, Common Job Search Mistakes :

Common Job Search Mistakes
Cara MacDonald


Let’s face it—looking for a new job is hard; writing a compelling resume is hard; finding relevant job postings is hard. This whole process is hard. But, are you making it harder on yourself than it needs to be? Consider these common job search/resume writing/marketing-yourself mistakes. Could your search be easier if you made these minor adjustments in approach or attitude…today?


  1. Issues with spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure—it is difficult to proof our own work. Our brain knows what we mean to say and doesn’t always catch mistakes or awkward phrasing. Have someone else read your documents, specifically looking for spelling and grammar issues. If you must do it yourself, read your work out loud. Reading aloud will help problems “jump out”.

  2. Saving the best for last (or for the cover letter)—if you are guilty of “saving” your most compelling accomplishments for an in-person conversation, you are making a big mistake. Only customizing your cover letter (rather than in addition to your resume) falls into this category of mistakes, as well. Cover letters are often not read. Don’t expect your application to be considered in-full before your relevance is decided. Your resume’s only job is to get you an invitation to interview. Don’t handicap its effort by keeping the best information for an interview that never happens.

  3. Rudeness (in email, in person, online, anywhere)—we see this so often, in email, especially. When you’re corresponding with someone, in a professional setting, start your emails with a polite greeting, don’t use the subject line to communicate your full message, and sign-off your emails with a proper, professional valediction. Email lacks the subtle nuances of face-to-face communication and body language. Don’t risk coming off as rude by failing to be polite.  And, don’t make the mistake of thinking the person you are dealing with has little impact on the success of your job search—you never know who has the ear of the hiring manager, the CEO or other decision-makers. 

  4. Thinking you are working with a recruiter—you are not working with a recruiter unless they have an open position that you fit into right now. Recruiters look for people for jobs, not jobs for people. They have a mandate to fill a specific job; that is how they get paid. If you don’t fit into their open position(s) your search is not important to them at this time. Be pro-active, take control of your job search, and understand that you have to be your own champion. You can certainly get help, just make sure you are getting help from a source that is actually invested in helping you. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not suggesting that you never use a recruiter ever again, but the key word is “use”. They are using you, and you should be using them. Maintain control of your own narrative and line up resources that you can use.

  5. Not asking for help when you need it—if it is plainly clear that you don’t know what you are doing or what you are doing wrong, it is okay to ask for help. In fact, it is wise to ask for help. In both our professional and personal lives, we often ask for help in that we delegate tasks that we aren’t qualified to do to people who are qualified to help us. I don’t change my own oil, I don’t do my own dental work, I don’t cut my own hair and so on…we can all come up with a list of instances where we delegate tasks to other professionals. If you are struggling with your job search consider Career Coaching; if your resume is not working, consider working with a Resume Writer; if your first interviews don’t lead to second interviews or offers of employment, consider Interview Coaching.

For help with any of those topics or if you simply don’t know where to begin, consider reaching out to me and my team; we will help you come up with a strategic plan for moving forward. You can reach me at or my Team at We would be pleased to provide a complimentary review of your current resume ( and/or have a discussion about your current job search at your convenience.

Wishing you the best in your career advancement!


Cara has been assisting HigherBracket members and executives get better, higher paying jobs for over 8 years! Connect with Cara at