Interview questions and structured interviewing
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12 Online Job Search Mistakes

  1. Posting your resume without worrying about privacy.

    Protect your identity (and your existing job, if you are employed) by limiting access to your contact information. Many employers do search for their employees' resumes in the job site resume/applicant database and/or the search engines. Those employees' jobs are at risk when their resumes are found!

    According to the FBI, identity theft is the top Internet fraud. Millions of identity-revealed resumes make it easy!

    Yes, suppressing your contact information may make you a bit more difficult to contact, but it's a trade-off. Some recruiters view it as positive. Some don't.

    [See Protecting Your Privacy and Choosing a Job Site for detailed information on how to conduct your online job search safely. We strongly recommend "Cyber-Safe Resumes" for your online job search.]

  2. Using your employer's computer (and other assets like Internet connection, telephone, etc.) to job hunt at work.

    Again, it may cost you your job, if you have one, by inappropriately using company assets, by violating the company Internet "acceptable use" policy, and/or simply by revealing to your employer that you are job hunting.

    This applies even if you do your job hunting outiside of your normal work hours, during lunch, or during some other authorized "personal" time.

  3. Expecting someone else to do the work (the job sites, a recruiter, your outplacement counselor, etc.).

    A job hunt is a do-it-yourself project! No one is as invested in your future as you are, and no one else knows what you want as well as you do.

    When you have identified a position that you want and submitted an online application, follow up! Contact the employer or recruiter directly yourself, via telephone as well as e-mail. Passive job seekers get left behind in the current market.

  4. Not leveraging the extensive Internet research resources to assist your job search.

    Use the Internet to identify potential employers, evaluate them, and contact them. Customize your resume and cover letter based on your research, and then dazzle them in the interview with your insight into their products and services, their market, their competitors, etc.

  5. Forgetting an e-mail message may be providing an employer with that all-important first impression.

    Using a crazy, cute, or weird e-mail address (e.g. "" or "") undermines your credibility and almost guarantees a message will be deleted or ignored.

  6. Not using good e-mail "netiquette."

    Sending a resume through e-mail as an attachment shows a lack of understanding of e-mail, the network security practices at most larger organizations, and the amount of time people can (or will!) spend trying to read your message. (See # 7 below for another reason not to use an attachment like a Micorsoft Word document.)

  7. Not virus-proofing your computer so that your resume and cover letter arrive at the employer's inbox containing (credibility-destroying) "surprises."

    An e-mail message containing a virus is usually quarantined and deleted. It's not viewed! And, it leaves a very bad impression of the intelligence, computer-skills, and Internet-savvy of the sender. Buy and use anti-virus software, and keep it up to date! Microsoft Word documents, a popular format for resumes, are often virus "carriers," so they are frequently viewed as potential threats and stopped or deleted without being opened.

  8. Using the "fire-ready-aim" method of distributing your resume.

    Posting your resume at hundreds of job sites or "blasting" it to hundreds or thousands of recruiters and employers is a self-defeating strategy. Most recipients will probably view it as spam. In the unlikely event that someone receives your resume who might have been interested in you, they know that everyone else has a copy of it, too. If the recipient is an independent recruiter, they will ignore it because they will know that they'll have a tough time earning a commission on your placement (an employer may also have received it directly or competing recruiters may be "shopping" your resume around to the same employers). An employer probably won't be interested in competing with several other employers.

    All of this negatively impacts your "market value."

  9. Applying for jobs without meeting the minimum qualifications.

    This is another easy, but self-defeating, strategy. If you take advantage of the simple application process to apply for every job that looks interesting, even if you don't have the minimum qualifications, you will be training recruiters and employers to ignore your application. And, you won't look very smart, either.

  10. Using only the big name Web job sites.

    Many of the "big names" are great sites, but they can also be expensive for employers to use and not focused for some job opportunities. So, in tight budgetary times, employers save money using smaller, less expensive or "niche" sites that may have exactly the applicants they want, like an industry- or location-specific job site or even the Web site of a professional or industry association.

  11. Forgetting that a personal resume Web page/portfilio is a business document.

    Yes, you can make a razzle-dazzle resume Web page, but... Yellow letters on a dark navy blue background may look great to you, but your resume probably won't be very legible when printed (and it will be printed some time). The animated pooping bull or the fluttering butterflies may amuse your friends, but it probably won't impress many employers unless those graphics are required by the job opportunity.