Mistakes people make while applying for jobs

I have seen people, especially entry-level developers apply for 100s of jobs but not getting selected for even 1-2 interviews.

Unlocking tech talent stories

November 14, 2022

I have seen people, especially entry-level developers, apply for 100s of jobs but don’t get selected for even 1-2 interviews. This happens because they make a lot of mistakes, some blunders too in the process of applying for a job.

In this article, I am going to tell you the common mistakes people make while applying for jobs. I will also tell you how to avoid those mistakes to increase the chances of selection.

Let’s have a look at those common mistakes one by one.

1. Applying to every job you come across

Yes, this is a huge mistake. Applying to every job not just drains your time and energy but also makes it impossible for you to keep a record of where you applied and where not.

This in turn increases the chance of applying for a position more than once, that is duplicate applications. The Applications Tracking Machines (ATS) reject duplicate applications right away.

Even if applications are viewed manually, the person reviewing the application gets a bad impression of yours when he/she sees a duplicate application. Hence you get a rejection in this case too.

Another similar problem is when you apply to 2-3 different roles at the same company. For example, You applied for a Frontend position, Machine Learning Engineer role, Cybersecurity role, etc.

Looking at your application for different positions makes the recruiters confused about your skills and ability, giving them a simple reason to reject you.

So, apply for either 1 or hardly 2 different positions if they are somewhat related, never more than that.

So what to do instead 🤔?

Here are some dos and don’ts you should follow –

  1. Don’t apply for the 30s of jobs every day. Try to find 3-4 jobs that are THE BEST suited to you and apply to them.
  2. Don’t rush. Take your time, tailor your resume well and then apply.
  3. Keep a record of companies and corresponding positions you have applied for.
  4. Keep an eye on job boards and career pages of companies you’re targeting to get a job at, but don’t apply to the same job from different websites or LinkedIn.

This was the first mistake people tend to make. Let’s look at the next one.

2. Not reading the job description thoroughly

Many folks read only the title of the job, salary, and required experience asked in the job posting. They ignore the job description (JD) written in great detail. If utilized well, the information given in the JD can be a great favor for the candidate.

You, as a job seeker, can use that information to structure your resume so that it gets more aligned with the requirements mentioned in the JD.

The information given in the JD should be very well utilized to list your skills, experience, achievements, etc. in the right order on your resume. This increases the chances of selection.

3. Not knowing the company beforehand

Many of us think of researching a company only after the recruiter connects with us, but this is not a good idea, to be honest. Knowing a company even before you apply for a job there is very important in many aspects. It can help you decide on a lot of factors.

For example, you should check in what domains the company works, whether It deals in Ecommerce or It’s Fintech, or deals in stocks & trading or healthcare. Maybe you prefer to work on some domains over others. I personally try not to get into a company that deals in stocks and trading.

One another advantage you can take from knowing a company beforehand is the order in which you mention your projects and skills in your resume. For example, if you’re applying for a company that deals in E-commerce, they will like it if you have worked with some e-commerce projects. This applies to any other domain.

Also, when the recruiter connects with you for the first time, they ask you if you know about their company. So, knowing that can help you here as well.

So, It’s advised to know at least a little about the companies you’re applying to get a job at.

4. Applying with the generic resume 😬

Applying with a typical generic resume is not a mistake but a blunder. Your resume is the entry point in the game of getting a job. It’s your First Impression. That is why you should pay huge attention and put in time & energy in crafting your resume.

So here are some do’s and don’ts for your resume.

  1. Give it the right hierarchical structure, i.e. mention your experience/side projects at the top, just after some personal details.
  2. Keep consistent formatting ( fonts, colors, etc.) throughout the resume.
  3. Highlight your achievements, not responsibilities. Everyone has responsibilities to highlight, your achievements tell how well you have executed them.
  4. Give it a personal touch, don’t copy-paste (literally) everything from the internet.
  5. Use the information given in the job description and mention the required skills at the top in the skills section of your resume.
  6. Please follow the instructions given and submit the correct details.
  7. Don’t lie on your resume or in interviews. Don’t mention a skill you don’t have.
  8. Give your resume a good name, something like your_name_last_updated_date.png. For example, I name like faheem_sept_2022. 😄
  9. Keep it simple, don’t overuse buzzwords.
  10. Check spelling and grammar before finalizing it.

5. Not leveraging your network

Sometimes you have the best technical skills for a job. you apply with a very good resume as well, but still, you don’t get the interview call. Do you wonder what is missing here? Read further 👇

This happens because recruiters sometimes don’t go through every application for 2 reasons.

  • There are too many applicants.
  • They might have already found some good enough candidates for that specific job.

To combat this unseen problem, It is hight advisable to find someone within your network who can refer you to the company where you see a job opening and are willing to work there.

This way, you directly get into the eyes of the recruiter. If you look like a good fit, they will soon connect with you for further process.

You might be thinking about how to find someone from that damn company to ask for a referral?

You can look at two places-

  1. Look if someone you know personally works or has any leads there.
  2. Use social media like LinkedIn or Twitter, and try to connect with someone who can refer you for the job you’re looking to apply for.

While asking someone to refer you, make sure you’re polite and give handy information straight away, like your work background, which job opening you’re talking about, and your resume. This information makes it easy for them to decide whether they gonna refer you or not. Let me tell you an example.

Recently, I was looking for a job, and I found an interesting job opening at a good company. I knew there would be lots of applicants for this role. My resume might get thrown away without even a look. Thus I decided to get someone to refer me for that job.

Fortunately, I found the CEO of the company on Twitter. I sent him a message requesting if he could refer me for an open role at his company. He replied positively in a few hours and connected me with the recruiter who was hiring for that role. This way, I got to the interview after a couple of days.

Let me share the screenshot of the chat I had with the CEO. Maybe this will give you an idea of how to approach someone.

twitter DM.png

Notice how I have structured the message sent to him. It includes my work background & primary skills, the job link I’m asking referral for, and my resume. PERFECT 🤩

Final thoughts

You get only one chance to impress a recruiter for an open job. Please don’t miss this chance by making these mistakes, at least after reading this article.

Take your time, research the company, read the job description tailor your resume, and then apply. Put in effort throughout the job application. Don’t feel burdened by this.

This is all I have for this article. All the best with your job search 💜.

If you need any guidance regarding Software engineering, please reach me on Twitter here. And if you’re searching for a new tech job, check out these ones at Landing.Jobs.

Thank you for reading till the end 🙏!

Peace out till the next article ✌️

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