7 Job Hunting Mistakes That Will Make You Unemployable

job hunting mistakes

By Arnie Fertig

Most job hunters are anxious to land their next opportunities. But in case you happen to be one of those rare birds who enjoys being unemployed, here are seven things you can do to make sure you stay that way:

1. Never bother to write a cover letter.
Only about 50 percent of cover letters ever get read. So why take the trouble to make a thoughtful bridge between your resume and the particulars that an employer advertises are necessary for a successful candidate to possess? If you don't bother to make the case for why you're a great fit for a given job, you can fool the resume screener into thinking that you really aren't the right person.

2. Create a bare-bones resume.
It's OK to mention your skills and list of a whole bunch of random keywords, but don't even think about explaining how you used them to solve problems or get things done. It's fine to assume that if you've had job titles like "Project Manager," "Marketing Director," or "Software Engineer," everyone will immediately intuit what you were responsible for doing, how you did it, and what results you achieved. Remember, people will judge you by the length of what you write rather than the content of what you put on the page.

At the top of your resume, list an objective where you emphasize your narrowest possible range of jobs you will accept, rather than conveying the value you could bring to any employer lucky enough to get you.

More: 7 Part-Time Jobs That Pay Up To $40 An Hour

3. Avoid people with whom you have things in common.
Forget about going to college alumni association gatherings, or professional groups where people in your industry or with your skill set will congregate. By all means, don't share your experience with other people who, like yourself, are in the same process of job hunting. After all, someone from your past might remember you, or a new acquaintance might figure out that you would be a great fit for a friend or colleague of his or hers who is looking for an employee just like you.

4. Scatter your resume far and wide.
Get on to those job boards and just apply to any and every job you can find. It's all a numbers game, right? Go ahead and apply to jobs at much higher levels that your experience warrants, or in industries that sound "cool" but which you really don't know anything about. Barrage them by sending your application in every day just so it gets noticed. For kicks, send your resume in for entry-level jobs like the one you had 25 years ago, because you don't really want to stress yourself at a higher level. It's all about what you want, and not what they want to see in a candidate, right? If you apply for enough jobs, one of them is bound to come through. No need to think about who would look at your resume and immediately understand, "this is just the kind of person who could help us get to the next level as a company."

5. Don't take the time to figure out which recruiter would value working with you.
It doesn't matter if they're a large agency or a boutique shop, what field they specialize in, or who might actually have had experience working in your field before they went into recruiting. A rose is a rose is a rose, so a recruiter is a recruiter is a recruiter, right? And everyone knows that all recruiters are sleazy, so don't worry about having any integrity when working with them, because it will never be appreciated or reciprocated.

More: 7 Part-Time Jobs That Pay Up To $40 An Hour

6. Avoid participating in social networks like LinkedIn.
Even if someone ropes you into setting up a LinkedIn profile, don't complete it and keep it really vague. Don't mine LinkedIn for information about what firms near you are hiring. Keep your knowledge to yourself, never answer questions that people pose, and don't participate in Group Discussions.

7. Forget being respectful in an interview.
If by chance you follow all these suggestions and still somehow wind up at a job interview, don't worry about putting your best foot forward. Be evasive in all your answers to their questions, look out the window at the view rather than into the eyes of the person or people you're with. Tell them about all the bad things you've heard about their company, and while you're at it, make some kind of bigoted remark about people with disabilities, or whose accent, skin tone, or religious beliefs just happen to be different than yours.

Of course there are many other things you can do to avoid getting hired, but this is a really good start.

However, if by chance, you really do want to get a job where you can put your skills and experience to use and make a difference for your next employer, just do the opposite of everything described here and you will be well on your way.

Happy hunting!

Arnie Fertig is the head coach of JobHunterCoach.com, where he utilizes his extensive background in HR Staffing and as owner of a recruiting company to help mid-career job-hunters land their next job. Arnie provides one-to-one coaching services to individuals throughout the U.S. in all aspects of the job hunt, including: resume writing, personal branding, utilizing social media, enhancing networking skills, preparing for interviews, and negotiating compensation.

Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now

More From U.S.News

Looking for a job? Click here to get started.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
Frustrated (AKA - J)

I love these blanket statement articles. Here's the reality - there is no one way to land a job! Every company is different and every hiring manager is different.

I know of companies who will automatically disqualify people for inquiring about the status of their applications. However, when I was a hiring manager, I would not consider someone unless they did show that follow through.

Landing a job depends on various things. Location, education, experience, personality, gender, race, age, weight, sexual orientation, etc, etc, etc.

The bottom line is it sucks out there and the fact that these articles pop up everyday just go to prove the point.

January 12 2015 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would also add staying on top of your job hut is a must. People are applying to more jobs than ever like CES said in the comments he applied to over 200 jobs. How do you manage all the jobs you've applied too? I know traditionally people have used spreadsheets. I found this free website called www.jobmango.com that helps you manage your job hunt. I used it and managed all my job hunting needs from one location. Great too if you've been applied to a lot of jobs.

November 08 2012 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The objective part is wrong here... it suggests that you are generic and will only "fit" one of three molds with no adaptability.
Instead, you should be re-writing this 'objective' for every job applied...I spend at least 1/2 hour to 45 minutes tayloring my resume to each and every job, targeting jobs where my skills match at least 70% (I'm not a programmer, so I don't apply to developer jobs).
As a former Project Manager, keywords DO matter. If the job spec says, "need experience with someone who (Escalates) potential problems..." but your resume says, (Mitigated) potential problems... While they both mean the exact same thing, they're looking for the keyword "escalate" so its in your best interest to tweak the words where you have comparable experience without fudging the truth.

Since I've started doing this, I notice I'm get plenty more responses than sending one generic resume where I only change the title to fit the job applying to. Hopefully my efforts will pay off in the long run!

November 05 2012 at 5:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

1 Would be Obama in the White House!

November 04 2012 at 7:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Regarding #4: assuming that you are applying for a position that "fits" you, how does the company know if you are sending your resume "far and wide"?

November 04 2012 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to martysk's comment

Oh, it happened to me about four years ago... they know because, if you apply for "everything" and not one specific job, when you do apply for that "specific" job, they may notice that they already have a copy of your resume in their system, which can be a strike against you -
There are auto resume filtering systems now that can either reject you or "short list" you.
You want to be short listed - it increases your chance of getting interviewed...

November 05 2012 at 5:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another pile of crap. If you are over 50 and unemployed, you can pretty much use your resume to wipe yourself. Good news is companies like Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart will gladly take you in and give you wonderful hours, fantastic pay and the list goes on and on. Being retired and not having to put up with corporate crap is a beautiful thing.

November 04 2012 at 7:15 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rtgarton's comment

Wallmart raised their starting pay to $8.50.hr. May I assume you are being sarcastic about being over 50 and getting a wonderful job?

November 04 2012 at 7:37 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Vote America

#1 should have been vote for Obama

November 04 2012 at 5:07 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply

This article is sarcastic and confusing. Like a high school sophomore misunderstood the directions to an assignment. Hire some actual writers and post some useful material.
P.S. NObama!

November 04 2012 at 4:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

There is only one problem American has about job search and that is Obama.

November 04 2012 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to renner1234's comment

Guess what Obama-haters... Hate the Corporations who Outsource - not the man who kept this country from falling into the toilet...

November 05 2012 at 6:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Their is some sarcasm in this but I think he is making a point. I had a hiring manager tell me to my face "you need the job, not me." which is true, she also made some other rude comments but when your the manager I guess you can. The office was in lower manhattan so I hope the power got knocked out there. I feel no remorse in saying that. Nobody cares anymore, I question the hiring practices of 80% of the companies out here so yea, maybe if you come across somewhat aloof you might get hired out here. Nobody wants an employee who can think, just be a robot. In my last job I was in management and had to make decisions. I made them headstrong and our clients loved that about me but my boss who is orginally from florida which now im learning is heavily divided by race and largely republican probably assumed I vote for obama cause im black when i didnt vote and wont vote because I knew him coming into office would split the country and make many blacks targets for racism. Needless to say she fired two other staffers then plotted to get rid of me, so I left. I never have been fired from a job and I didnt want that hanging over my head. I know my performance was not the issue. I had to settle for a "freelancer" position with a retail company in their human resource department at half the pay I did in spite of my years of experience and college degrees. All im saying is something has and is fishy and I find myself worse off than when O came into office so I am staying away from the polls. Voting doesnt bring change, working does. But because I am black potential employers who will most likely vote Romney and be dissapointed will assume I voted for Obama for the next 4 years. Im gonna start my own business so I dont have to ever worry about working for people who dont wanna hire me because of who they THINK I vote for or who they think I am striving to be like. I never saw anything in common with myself and Obama, he didnt grow up in gang territory on the southside of chicago like i did or have all the debt I did coming out of his college education and I am SEVERAL shades darker than he is. His power in office only stretches but so far, republicans run main street and wall street and thats where they exact their revenge....

November 04 2012 at 3:08 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to yushsm's comment

Search Articles

Picks From the Web