Job Search Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

For Candidates

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With a historic number of unemployment claims reported in the US, millions of professionals have started their search for new career opportunities. As we continue to acclimate ourselves to changes due to the pandemic, it’s important to understand the current do’s and don’ts of job searching in order to have the best possible chance of landing your next career opportunity.

Our executive recruiters share five common job search mistakes to avoid based on their experience in the hiring process.


Mistake #1: Submitting resumes blindly.

With the growing demand for jobs, it’s understandable to feel inclined to apply everywhere and anywhere. While this piece of advice may have been helpful in the past, it can really hinder you from landing any job. Hiring managers can tell if a candidate hasn’t done their research. With technology being an easily accessible resource, it’s rare not to find something when looking up a company.

If you’re interested in applying for an open position, taking the time to personalize your message to the hiring manager will go a long way. Try to find the hiring authority’s contact information, and be sure to reference how you found out about the position – whether it be from the company website, social media, or word of mouth.

Before submitting your resume, ask yourself: how can you benefit the company? Personalizing your resume to the job description and aligning your core values to the company will help you stand out from applicants who practice quantity over quality.

>>> Read More: Six Steps to Spruce Up Your Resume


Mistake #2: Adding too much uncommon jargon in your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Previously, candidates could submit resumes through a company’s job portal and be fairly confident that their resume would be seen by someone. Since the advent of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), most resumes submitted through the company’s job portals never reach a hiring manager. The ATS screens submitted resumes for keywords that match the job description of the vacant position.

While including “storyteller” or “wizard” in your job title may be a unique way to show some personality, your profile won’t appear if most hiring authorities use conventional job titles to filter their search. To overcome this issue, add keywords from the company’s job description to your resume. Doing so greatly increases the chances your resume and LinkedIn profile will be seen by a human.


Mistake #3: Highlighting career milestones at the expense of disclosing sensitive information from your current or past employer.

Our recruiters and clients occasionally receive information that is clearly the confidential property of another employer, including financials. While this is an attempt to illustrate success with your current (or past) employer, this can be extremely counterproductive. Hiring authorities will immediately question your understanding of business ethics, and may be weary of hiring someone who could potentially do the same for their company. Including percentages and concrete results in your resume are important, but it’s crucial not to cross the line by revealing classified company information.

>>> Read More: The Art of the Humblebrag: Resume Extraordinaire


Mistake #4: Lying about your unemployment.

While long periods of unemployment can be concerning for hiring authorities, lying about your experience is not worth the risk of getting caught. There was an instance when a candidate stated they were a “consultant” for a certain period of time, but were unable to back up their claim when asked about their business model or list of clientele. Other times, we have received emails from candidates saying they are currently unemployed, but their submitted resume shows they are still working for a company.

Be honest in your resume. If there are gaps in your work history of 6 months or longer, explain the reasons. Did you enroll in classes or workshops that benefited your career? Did you step away from work due to taking care of an ill family member? Shedding light on the situation will prevent hiring authorities from questioning the unemployment gap. Honesty is the best policy, after all.


Mistake #5: Having inconsistencies in your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Your resume and LinkedIn profile are opportunities to put your best foot forward and make a positive impression on a potential employer. Sometimes, a candidate’s resume differs from what is on LinkedIn. Make it a habit to update all forms of resumes when making changes to your professional experience. Recruiters and clients regularly verify employment by checking websites and other third-party sources. When the discrepancy is exposed, the question becomes whether the mistake was intentional or an oversight – neither are positive perceptions.


Regardless of your current employment status, continuing to stay up to date on the best job search practices and actively updating your resume and LinkedIn profile can ensure that you are ready for any opportunities that come your way. Steer clear from these common job search mistakes to increase your chances of getting the job offer.

Stay tuned for next month’s article to find out what you can do to improve your professional brand during your job search!

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 50 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; Hotels and Resorts; Travel, Tourism, and Attractions; Facilities and Concessions; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Restaurant; Hospital and Healthcare; and Nonprofit industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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