This is a guest post by Dennis Mehaffey.

With the job market finally recovering, there are many great job opportunities out there than ever before. Finding and landing these jobs, though, requires a great deal of time and effort. You must be willing to spend as much time on your job search as you would a full-time job.

business__peopleAfter all of your hard work and determination, it would be a shame to see your chances at landing your dream job sink because of a simple mistake. Job seekers must be proactive, prepared and must strongly position themselves to find the best career or job. While doing so, it is important to know what not to do. Here are six of the most common mistakes job hunters make, you must make sure that you are not making these during your jobsearch:


Fabricating the Truth

Obviously, lying outright is one of the easiest ways to torpedo your job search. If your employer finds out that you created a fake work history, or added a college degree that you never actually earned, it’s going to land your resume in the garbage bin.

Most job hunters are smart enough not to completely lie. It’s much easier, on the other hand, to exaggerate just a bit. You might decide to alter previous titles to fit the keywords in a job description, stretch the number of direct reports you had, or add a couple months to a position to fill a gap.

It’s important to realize that any lie, no matter how small, is enough to ruin your chances with a company. Your resume must contain the truth, and only the truth, no matter what. If you don’t have the credentials to apply for a position, you’ll need to find a better fit or find a way to prove you have the ability to do the job anyway.


Not Aiming Properly

The purpose of a job search is to find a position and company that fits you the best. You’re not trying to simply find the best job you can possibly land. Applying for positions you’re clearly underqualified for is a waste of time for you and the companies you apply to. If your goal is a position that’s a bit out of reach, take the time to map out a career path and look for positions that get you on track.

While overshooting is a major mistake, not aiming high enough is, too. Taking a position that’s beneath your current talents and accomplishments stalls your career path. You’ll also have a hard time landing these positions, as hiring managers are wary of hiring overqualified candidates who might look for greener pastures in the short-term.

It you’re looking to make a lateral move to better suit your interests or career path, that’s perfectly reasonable. Just make sure you can clearly explain your reasoning so hiring managers don’t write you off.


Ignoring Your Network

If you’re looking for a job, you need to reach out to your network. It’s a simple strategy, but many job hunters still try to go at it alone. Today, an estimated 40% of all jobs are filled through networking. In fact, experts believe that about 80% of all jobs are never even publicly advertised.

A direct approach still works, but you still need to leverage your network. Use your friends, family, and former colleagues to make connections with people working in your target companies. Leverage LinkedIn to message recruiters for those organizations and introduce yourself. Even a quick hello can be enough to make sure your resume gets on the right person’s desk.


Creating A Single Resume and Cover Letter

Even if you’re looking for one specific job title, you have to tweak your resume each and every time you send it out. Each job description is chock full of keywords, and you have to pay attention to them. Most recruiters use software to scan their database of resumes. If yours doesn’t include these phrases, it’s never going to get looked at by a human.

It’s just as important to write a strong cover letter tailored to each company. It’s the first (and sometimes only) opportunity you have to make an impression. Show the recruiting manager that you know something about their organization, and give them specific reasons as to why your skills make you a great fit. Providing a generic cover letter makes you look just as lazy and disinterested as not sending one at all.


Forgetting to Prepare For Your Interviews

Simply landing an interview is a huge success. If you’re a perfect fit, it’s easy to get comfortable and look forward to telling the interviewer exactly how great you are for the position. What you must keep in mind is that you aren’t the only interviewee. There’s going to be a parade of fully qualified candidates talking with the hiring manager.

You have to prepare for your interview with this in mind. Learn as much as possible about the company you’re interviewing with, and talk about how you can help them overcome specific competitors. Put together three or four success stories to use throughout the interview. Prepare a list of relevant, interesting questions to ask during your discussion. If you’re as prepared as possible, you’ll stay engaged and confident throughout the interview, giving you a significant advantage over your equally qualified competition.


Showing Inappropriate Amount of Interest

It’s important to prove to a decision maker that you’re interested in an open position. They need to know that you’re looking at this opportunity as a launching point for the rest of your career, and not just a pitstop on the way to a new, better company. Make sure to follow-up your interview with a quick thank you note, reiterating your interest and once again outlining why you’re a great candidate.

Along the same vein, you can’t show too much interest. Being overeager appears desperate. Don’t bombard somebody with multiple calls and emails. One or two contacts are enough to show interest without going overboard.

Now that you know exactly what mistake to avoid making during your job search, it’s time to find a job. Click here to search our database and find the perfect job for you!


About the Guest Post Author

Dennis Mehaffey is a staff writer for who holds his MBA from Widener University and has worked in sales, marketing, content development, and management. His specialties include small business and technology. You can connect with him on Google+.