Jobs Seekers Beware: 6 Red Flags To Avoid

job search mistakes errorsSearching for a job is never easy, but in this economy the challenges facing job seekers have never been greater. The jobless rate remained stuck at 9 percent in mid-August and a significant percentage of Americans -- 9.2 percent -- are working merely part time even though they desire full-time work, according to tracking data released Wednesday by Gallup.

Most of the data contained within Gallup's latest survey showed little change from last month or even from August 2010. Another useful measure is underemployment -- the number of workers who are either unemployed or working part time but seeking full-time work. In mid-August, 18.2 percent of Americans could be considered underemployed, Gallups says. That's statistically little changed from July's 18 percent or the 18.3 percent recorded in August a year ago.

The U.S. economy simply hasn't been growing fast enough to create the number of new jobs necessary to meet population growth, let alone significantly reduce the unemployment rate, Gallup says. That outcome is consistent with the polling organization's finding that unemployment now is essentially no better than it was a year ago.

Faced with continued stiff competition within the labor market, job seekers would do well to reduce the number of missteps that can prevent them from being considered for any available positions.

Even the most qualified candidates can remove themselves from consideration if hiring managers aren't able to quickly discern whether they are a good fit, says CareerCast.com.

One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is failing to pay attention to details.

"Always proofread everything that a recruiter might see, including the obvious -- your resume, cover letter and emails, as well your social-media profiles," says Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com. He adds that sloppy grammar is frequently reason enough to eliminate candidates from consideration.

Discrepancies can be another red flag for recruiters, Lee says. Differences between resumes, applications and social-media profiles raise questions in hiring managers' minds about whether an applicant is lying or just sloppy.

One way to cut down on the number of discrepancies it to create a spreadsheet that includes past jobs, degrees and awards that can be referred to when job seekers are filling out applications.

Beyond lack of attention to detail, CareerCast.com notes these other "red flags" that job seekers should avoid to better their chances of securing an interview and landing a job:

  1. If you are unemployed, volunteer for a worthy cause, take a class or seek freelance work to show employers that you are still engaged in the workforce.
  2. Customize your resume and cover letter to match the job description or you may not get past the applicant tracking system, which is set up to screen out candidates who do not match keywords listed in the job listing.
  3. If you have lengthy gaps between jobs, briefly explain them in your cover letter.
  4. In each correspondence with hiring managers, keep a formal and professional tone, using a person's surname until they indicate they don't mind being addressed more casually.
  5. Use your social media pages to market and brand yourself -- and remember that there is no privacy on the Internet.
  6. Avoid a cutesy email handle -- sign up for an email address that shows your professionalism.

On that last point, etiquette-expert Jacqueline Whitmore says many people don't realize that email addresses, as well as social-media sites, voicemail and other similar services, in effect, create a personal brand -- for better or for worse.

"Something as minute as your voicemail can be a significant factor in swaying a person's hiring decision if it isn't professional," says Whitmore, author of "Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work."

With stiff competition in today's job market, the odds may already be stacked against you, she says, "so don't give employers any more reasons to not hire you."


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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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mrinspectormark

I suggest these angry people learn to aticulate their veiwpoints and leave there low class language out of their responses.

September 04 2011 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dikotabull01

I lost my job in 2008 and been trying to get a new one since. every job I have app for I was pushed off to the side. But yet I sent 3 fake apps this year that are past a** random and 2 of them were accepted!

1.) Was placed as a 32 y.o. Mexican (sadly and no offence on this either) and place in a family business for the same years that i have worked.

2.) Was placed as a 20 y.o. American with only 2 years of work experience (less the the number of years I worked with a non famliy business).

I have done volunteer work for many years as well and I'm going to be 20 in Oct. Whats even great about this I have done everything this page says BEFORE it was posted. I started working since I was 14 since my mother and father couldn't pull their own feet up. I had to be manager of my grandfather's pet store since he couldn't walk, get out of bed, and was slowly passing away. I had to just about everything with what little help I could get. thats how I started out and gone to do more to have money for my own needs.

Even when I'm so close to getting a job, I get rejected. Even online jobs and I even app for a job out in my own town that WAS offering jobs. Not sure if I'm getting bad luck or what... And I've been doing this for far to long and still nothing!

The letters... Right sure THAT works. Mine get put all in the trash after by the VERY person I give them too :) Thank you California!

LOL the more I read these kinds of posts on the Internet I cal BS on them all. I tryed every Advice out there. This Isn't going to help everyone. Only a few people. And so far I only see 45 comments or so. I want to at least see about 500,000 comments since we have so many people in our country.

August 19 2011 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jasonpegram1

i wish employers could be straight up with you and honest just say yes or no on whether or not they want to hire you but i guess that's too much to ask i will look over your application and i will be in touch man what a lie that is why not just look over your application while you are there and just tell you yes or no and if they tell you no yeah you are dissapointed but you move on and just keep looking for employment

August 19 2011 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
zoseph

This article is not written well. You are lucky to have a job.

August 19 2011 at 2:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mom

Some of the best candidates on the market don't seem to make it past the screening interviews. You can read books, articles, and dedicate yourself to preparation...but...still no offer. I coach individual candidates for interviews and train managers to interview effectively. Often times I find that candidates have body language that speaks louder than words. Candidates in effect "shoot themselves in the foot" with some of their habits. A coaching session is a wise investment - you don't get many second chances in this market. Diane Bochy for TheInterview.US.Com (Oct 1)

August 19 2011 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chuck & PJ Bedy

Yep! I am very impressed with the CEO of a company who advertises a TSlsMgr position through EmployFlorida.com whereby I am contacted by the local state office about the position.
I respond immediately after re-wording my resume to associate with the position requirements.
Within 2hrs I am contacted via e-mail by the advertising company's CEO and asked to e-mail him a resume to which he will call me within 2 hours to set up and interview.
This all occurred on July 27th and I am still awaiting for the phone call to schedule the interview.
I have contacted the CEO twice via e-mail but I am turning a pretty shade of blue while holding my breath.
What truly gripes me is that companies all have resume/application screeners; so why don't they have someone that responsed to your job interests and give you a "yeah" or "ney" via a preprinted e-mail. At least your interests are acknowledged and you won't feel like a useless piece of crap.
Sorry. Today is not a good day. ..And then I have to listen to Obama now blaming the US Citizens for not doing their part with the economy. What an ASS!!!

August 19 2011 at 1:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
gts31bumbee

You all must keep on keeping on. Yes it is true that the repugs have pretty-well written off most of those who have been unemployed over a year. Unions were one of the reasons for the great growth and lasting employment that kept our 'captains of industry' from throwing you away like a worn out shoe.. What happened ? Several things come into play here; the global growth of other economies coupled with too much wealth transferred to a more centralized group and excessive greed by some unions. The skillful divide and conqueror with union officials in bed with management and lobbyist and congressional selling off of our economic foundations through tax cuts, tax havens and outright without penalties and protectionism. Yes protectionism !

August 19 2011 at 1:17 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
springstitle

New great side PROCUDEBID.COM

August 19 2011 at 1:09 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
nipps

Human resource can smell 50 years old before you open the door. It's a waiting game, and hopefully you can borrow and scrounge before you waste to nothing. I don't blame the president as much as congress. They were elected in November and not one word of jobs, instead fiddling around with debt limit politics that they passed last minute anyway. Get people jobs and their will be demand for services and products. Yes Government can create jobs, take a class in macro Economics.These articles are really just a waste of time, because we are all doing what they are suggesting anyway. I hope this person didn't get paid for this article, pretty simple things that should be common sense. Good luck everybody and to me too.

August 19 2011 at 12:38 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
fark6

Just glad I sued GM, and no longer have to work !!! LOL

August 19 2011 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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