Oops! 7 Common Job Hunting Mistakes to Avoid


When you’re job hunting, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but that’s when mishaps tend to sneak up and strike. Here’s a list of common job hunting mistakes that could spell disaster — along with tips on how to avoid them.

We’ve all been there: We hear about the outlandish job hunting mistakes others have made and think, “I would never do that!” But then it happens: You find a typo on a resume you’ve already submitted, or a friend says, “You did what?!” when you recount your interview experience, and your heart drops, your palms get sweaty and your mouth suddenly feels as dry as the Sahara.

If you never want to experience those feelings again, take care to avoid these common job hunting errors.

1. Leaving typos on your resume or cover letter

No matter what your creative role is, attention to detail is important both when job hunting and once on the job. Resume goofs will always raise red flags. And make sure there aren’t any typos in your digital portfolio or on your social media profiles either, especially if you point hiring managers to them in your application materials. Sloppiness is never a virtue.

2. Including the wrong company or manager name on your cover letter

In the rush to send out a flurry of applications, it can be easy to include the wrong name on a cover letter. Unfortunately, this big job hunting error will significantly damage your chances of landing an interview. Likewise, if you don’t know how to pronounce the name of someone with whom you’ll be interviewing — or whether to refer to them as Mr. or Ms. in your communications — call ahead and ask the receptionist for clarification.

3. Neglecting to do your research

This applies to all aspects of your job hunt, from your cover letter and resume to your portfolio and the interview. If you don’t research the company, you can’t tailor your application materials and portfolio. And if you show up to an interview without learning what the company does and what’s required of the position, the hiring manager won’t take you seriously.

4. Lying on your resume or during a job interview

This should go without saying, but don’t pretend to be something you’re not. It may be tempting to stretch the truth about how long you were employed elsewhere or what tasks you handled in a past position, but don’t do it. Little white lies have a way of ballooning quickly, especially if the misinformation comes up during an interview. Besides, if you land the job but don’t have the experience you claim to, you’re setting yourself up for problems.

5. Showing up late — or super early — to a interview 

With GPS apps on smartphones, there’s really no excuse for getting lost or stuck in traffic. If you’re unsure of the interview location, map it out or even drive the route a few days ahead of time. And allow yourself plenty of travel time, accounting for potential traffic. On the flip side, don’t show up too early. The interviewer might be unprepared at best and annoyed with you at worst. If you arrive early, spend some time prepping for the interview or listening to some music that will relax you — or pump you up — in your car or at a nearby coffee shop.

6. Forgetting to turn off your phone 

Poor tech etiquette can be an interview deal breaker. Nearly eight in 10 (77 percent) advertising and marketing executives surveyed by The Creative Group said it's likely they'd remove a candidate from consideration if he or she checked or answered the phone during an interview. Don't get dinged for being discourteous.

7. Talking smack about a former employer 

While many people leave jobs because of conflict, badmouthing your former company or coworkers will send the message that you’re a negative person and hard to get along with. Focus on the opportunities the new position offers if you’re asked why you’re leaving, or at the very least frame past conflicts as challenges and recount the constructive steps you took to resolve them.

If you’re prone to job hunting snafus or want to be extra careful to avoid them, consider creating a checklist of details before applying for jobs or attending interviews. Otherwise, costly errors may cost you a big opportunity.

Related content: Need Help Finding a Job? Turn to The Creative Group