What Not to Do When You're Applying for Jobs

Job interview
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There are many things you should do when you apply for a job, but there's an equally long lists of don'ts. That's because some actions and behaviors can really hinder your job hunt and are best avoided. 

From oversharing the details of your job search to making a typo in a cover letter, here's what not to do when you apply for a job. 

What Not to Do When Applying for a Job

Submit a Job Application, Resume, or Cover Letter with Typos

Check your resume, cover letter, and every single email you send for grammar and spelling — even if it's just a quick email, LinkedIn message, or Facebook message to a networking contact. If you submit a job application with a typo, it can knock you out of contention for a job. This means writing in full sentences, and checking spelling and grammar. Always, always triple-check the spelling of company and contact's names, too — those mistakes are particularly eye-catching.  

Don't Know Your Employment History

When you apply for jobs, whether it's online or in-person, employers expect you to know your employment history, including dates of employment, job titles, and company information for each job you've held. What can you do when you don't remember your exact dates of employment? Here's how you can compile your personal employment history when you're missing all the details.

Tell Everyone You're Job Searching

It can be a good idea to tell everyone you know you're job searching — if you're unemployed. If you have a job and you want to keep it, be very careful who you tell that you're job searching. Also, make sure that you're using tools to keep your job search confidential. You don't want your boss to hear you're looking and possible jeopardize the job you currently hold.

Take Advantage of Your Connections

It's appropriate to use your connections to help you get a job. However, it's not appropriate to try to bypass the hiring process in order to try to get hired. Use your connections carefully and make sure they are advocating for your candidacy in a professional manner.

Dress Inappropriately

Don't wear jeans or shorts, tank tops, crop tops or anything too low cut (cleavage is not a good thing when you're job searching) or too short. Make sure you're not showing too much skin i.e. your belly should not be showing. Don't wear spike heels, platforms, flip flops, or your favorite pair of old ratty sneakers. It is always important to be neat, tidy, and well-groomed and to present a positive image to the employer. Here's what you should be wearing to apply for a job.

Forget Your Resume

When applying for jobs in-person and when interviewing, bringing extra copies of your resume is a good idea. Also, consider bringing your transcript as well if you're interviewing for an academic-related position.

Keep Your Phone On

Filling out a job application or an interview isn't a place to sneak in a few texts. If your phone is constantly beeping or ringing, it creates a very distracting environment and reflects poorly on you. So, make it a priority to turn your phone on silent and stow it away in your bag or pocket.

Walk in with Headphones On 

Although you might be dying to catch the end of your favorite song, take your headphones out and turn off your music-playing device. Stash both in your purse or briefcase before you walk in to apply for a job or go on a job interview.

Bring Food or Drink

Plan ahead and grab a coffee or other beverage or a snack either before or after your interview, because it isn't professional to eat or drink during your interview. Finish (or throw out) your coffee or food before your interview. Also, while you want to have fresh breath during the interview, make sure to spit out your gum or finish your mint before you enter the building. 

Bring Your Parents or Friends

Applying for jobs or going to a job interview are solo activities. Leave your parents, friends, or significant others at home. If you're applying for a retail job and you're with friends have them wait outside the store or elsewhere. The only time this would not apply is if you and your friends were applying at a company that was hiring for several positions.

Act Unprofessionally

No matter how difficult your job search is, make an effort to greet your interviewer kindly, and be active and engaged during the interview process. Be outgoing and positive, even if you don't feel that way.

Don't Be Upfront About When You're Available

Be honest with your prospective employer about when it's feasible to work. If you can't work evening shifts, for example, don't hedge during the interview. You don't want to end up taking on more hours than you can handle or commit to a schedule that won't work out, inconveniencing both yourself and your employer.

Ask for Money

I cringe when someone tells me they've asked for a certain salary when they haven't even been interviewed yet. Avoid mentioning compensation until you have a job offer or, at least, until the employer brings it up. Even then, be careful as to how you negotiate salary.

Top Job Search Mistakes
What are the worst job search mistakes you can make? Some are major mistakes that can halt your job search before it even gets going. Others are small ones that, given a competitive job market, can be enough to knock you out of contention for a job. Be sure to avoid the top job search mistakes, so you're in the best position to effectively job search.

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