6 Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Job Hunt (And How to Stop!)

As anyone who’s ever looked for a job knows, it’s not always an easy process. Some candidates make the whole thing harder by sabotaging themselves—often without realizing it. Are you one of them?


Here are six ways you might be undermining your job search efforts, and how you can turn things around to get from application to offer faster.

1. Your email address is less than professional

What is your contact information saying about you? If your email address is “JennyAndJosh@AOL.com”, it’s basically saying “don’t hire me.”

It’s surprising how many people are still using unprofessional email handles when they’re looking to be taken seriously. Nicknames, “family” accounts and cutesy tags should never appear on your resume—or in an employer’s inbox.

If you don’t already have a professional email address, one great option is to get your.name@gmail.com. If your name is taken, you could add a short number to the end.

2. You’re trying to get “the Internet” to hire you

There are so many things you can do online. You can look for jobs, research companies, send your resume or application, and connect with colleagues, recruiters, and potential employers.

However, it’s important to remember that the Internet is not going to hire you. An actual person will do that.

Actually talking to people, either on the phone or in person, will deliver results faster and more efficiently than emailing and uploading. Strive to speak with people who could actually hire you, or people who can connect you directly with someone who hires.

3. You’re cheating on your recruiter

Recruiters are neither stupid, nor naïve. They expect that you’ll be working with more than one recruiter, and might even be communicating directly with some hiring managers. The problem comes in when you lie about it.

You need to be honest when asked how many recruiters you’re working with, or which companies you’ve already approached for a job. If you’re referred or represented by more than one recruiter for the same position, you won’t look like an in-demand candidate—you’ll look untrustworthy, disorganized, and unprofessional.

4. Your last employer sucked—and you’re letting everyone know

Badmouthing your former employers is simply a bad idea. You may think that talking about the toxic environment you came from is just demonstrating how much happier you’ll be if the interviewer hires you, but all you’re really doing is painting yourself as a negative person who’s hard to satisfy. No employer wants to hire a complainer.

It’s okay to offer tactful, neutral explanations about why you’re leaving your job, but refrain from dishing out all the dirty gossip you can.

5. Your salary is imaginary

Some job candidates either fudge the numbers, or flat-out lie about how much they’re making in their current position. It’s an attempt to get a potential employer to match the higher salary you’re not really earning—and it can backfire. Recruiting agencies and hiring managers are verifying compensation more often, and if you haven’t been truthful, you’re not likely to get hired.

Instead, simply ask for a higher salary than you’re currently making, and be prepared to explain why you deserve more. The hiring manager just might agree with you.

6. You’re playing hard to get

Competing offers for jobs can be a double-edged sword. Some employers may choose not to hire you if you’ve got an offer elsewhere, while others can be more inclined to steal you from the competition. In either case, honesty is once again your best policy.

Always be upfront and timely about job offers. Don’t make up another offer in the hopes that the employer will see you as in demand—and don’t conceal an offer so you can try to hold out for a better one. Being proactive and letting recruiters or hiring managers know can sometimes lead to a one-up contest between employers that will end in your favor.

In general, keeping your job search honest, proactive, and professional will help you avoid self-sabotage and get you hired faster. Contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at info@psychpros.com to find out more about how we can help you find your next position!

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