5 common job-hunting mistakes and how to avoid them

by Sep 24, 2021

Regardless of what you study or what you want to do as a career, the one thing we all have in common is that at some point in our life we will need to search and apply for jobs.

This unavoidable aspect of adult life can be intimating, especially when you’re first starting out, which makes it easy to make mistakes.

As someone who has applied for many roles and also supported hundreds of students through their own applications, I am here to share with you the most common mistakes I have seen students make when job hunting, and how these can be easily avoided.


Mistake: Forgetting to rename your application documents before submitting

If you have used the same resume or cover letter template for previous job applications, and have included the organisation in the file name, make sure you update this before submitting.

You should be tailoring your documents to every role you apply for, so forgetting to rename your files from a previous application makes it obvious to hiring managers that you have not tailored these to their job description.


Mistake: Not saving a copy of the job advertisement to your device when applying for the role

If you have come across a job advertisement on Seek, Indeed, LinkedIn or a similar website, make sure you save a copy of this to your computer (even if you copy and paste the text and save it into a word document).

Many organisations will remove these once applications close, however, may not start interviewing for the role until weeks after. Therefore, if you get called up for an interview and haven’t saved a copy to your computer, you may not be able to view the job description to refer to in your interview preparation, making tailoring your responses difficult.


Mistake: Failing to proofread your application documents before submitting

Having grammatical and spelling errors in your documents can give off the wrong impression to hiring managers, like may not pay attention to details, or that you don’t take care in completing your work.

To prevent this, you should start your application well before the closing date to give yourself enough time to proofread. You may also want to give these documents to a friend or family member to review for you.


Mistake: Forgetting that interviews are a two-way process

Interviews don’t just allow hiring managers to learn more about you, they also allow you to learn more about the role and organisation that you’ve applied for.

At the end of an interview, you’re likely to be asked by the interviewer if you have any questions for them. Not having any question prepared can be a red flag, giving the impression that you are not interested in the role or haven’t conducted your research prior to the interview. I recommend you come prepared with a few questions to ask of your own to show you’re invested in the opportunity.


Mistake: Relying on job boards as your sole job method of job searching

Although job boards can be a great way to find out what type of roles are out there, they shouldn’t be the only job search strategy you utilise. Many organisations are moving away from advertising their roles on job boards, and those that are advertised can be highly competitive. Therefore, relying on job boards as your primary search strategy can see you miss out on dozens of potential employment opportunities.

Instead, you may want to consider reaching out to organisations directly, utilising your professional network for referrals, attending events relevant to your industry or joining a professional association to expand your job search.


Whether you are just starting out your job search journey, are already applying for roles, or are at the interview stage, UTS Careers can help you out.

UTS CareerHub has a built-in job board with hundreds of jobs and internships to apply for, and an extensive resource collection to guide you through all the stages of the recruitment process. You can also book in for a 10-minute express appointment with one of our Peer Career Advisors who can help you navigate the recruitment process.


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Erin Meier

Erin Meier

Recruitment Advisor

Erin currently works as a Recruitment Advisor for UTS Careers. She is passionate and empathetic and enjoys working with students to support them through their career journey and assist them in achieving their career related goals. Erin has previously worked in customer service, promotional and human resources roles.