Common Mistakes Job Seekers Make and How to Avoid Them

Job seekers trying to find a job within the increasingly competitive Singapore job market can be a tall task. It’s easy to feel discouraged, especially if some time goes by without a lot of visible progress. And you can sometimes feel like you don’t know what you’re doing wrong if you’re not seeing a lot of interest.

While there are no magic shortcuts to successfully completing a job search, there are a number of common pitfalls that job seekers fall into, and ways to avoid them. By following these guidelines, you can maximize your chances of finding a job that’s right for you within a reasonable timeframe.

Not Allotting Enough Time to the Search

Over 40% of job seekers spend fewer than three hours per day searching for a job. Yet all research into the habits and outcomes of job searches shows that those who spend more time on their job search find jobs faster.

Searching for a job is often times tedious, and is frequently discouraging. However, not spending sufficient time each day searching is negative for two reasons. First, the obvious – The more applications you get out and the more networking you do, the greater the chances of finding something.

Second, spending only a couple of hours or less each day leads to the wrong kind of mindset, and can trickle down into other areas of your job search. Searching for a job IS a job. It takes hard work, dedication and persistence. If you’re not treating it that way, you’re far less likely to be successful.

job seekers mistakes

Solution: Treat the Search Like a Job

No one would suggest devoting every waking minute to the job search, as that would likely degrade the quality of your searching and also lead to burnout.

With that being said, you should ideally be spending as much time searching for a job as you would working a full time job. This may not be possible for some people. For instance, if you’re looking for a new job while working a current job. In that case, devote as much time as you reasonably can. However, if you’re not currently working and don’t have other major time commitments, make sure to devote a significant portion of your day to the job search.

Taking Too Many Breaks in the Search

It’s understandable to put the job search on pause for a brief time period every now again. However, many job seekers make the error of searching for a while, perhaps making some decent progress, and then taking a lengthy break in searching for new leads and opportunities.

The problem with taking a prolonged break in your job search is that it completely kills all the momentum you’ve built up. All the good habits you’ve developed over time in being diligent about searching need to be reacquired when you CV after a long pause.

Not only do you lose your own momentum, but any time spent not actively searching for a job is time in which you’re guaranteed not to get a job. Your name isn’t out there, and you’re not making any progress.

Solution: Set Limits for Breaks

To limit the chances that you’ll end up taking too long a break in your job search, set limits up front that you absolutely won’t cross.

You might decide that you can’t have more than 5 days in a month in which you haven’t searched for a job. Or that if you take a day break, you can’t take another break for at least one week’s time.

Decide what makes sense for you, and what will work for your goals and what you know about your own best schedule. By setting rules about breaks for yourself at the start, you decrease the chance of what started as a short break becoming one that’s too long.

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Focusing Too Much on One Opportunity

It’s understandable when you find a position open for a dream job to really devote your attention and energy to that possibility. And you definitely should put forward your very best foot for the positions you especially want.

Spending an inordinate amount of time and energy to one single opportunity, though, isn’t the best way to conduct a job search. For one thing, getting your hopes up on one job opening can lead to a de-motivating crash if you don’t get the job. You may find it difficult to summon up the willpower to push on after missing out.

Also, if you’re devoting too much effort to one position, that can mean that your applications and efforts for other positions won’t be 100%, damaging your chances there.

Solution: Keep Your Options Open

Even when you find the perfect opportunity, don’t let that cause you to neglect other areas of your search. Continue to explore a range of other options even as you hope like crazy that your dream job comes through.

If you get the dream job, great. If not, you’ve got other options developing and are ready to move on to the next possibility.

Not Tuning Up Your CV

Your CV is the first (and potentially only) chance job seekers have to make an impression. We all know that first impressions are absolutely crucial, and that goes double for a CV. It’s likely that you’ve spent a good amount of time working on your CV, and you might believe it’s perfect.

Sadly, that’s almost always not true if you created your CV without any help or feedback. It’s entirely possible that there are some typos, grammatical errors, or phrases and passages not worded in the best way. Any of those kinds of things can cause a recruiter or hiring manager to set your CV aside.

And even if your CV doesn’t have any technical flaws like those, it’s entirely possible that there are still ways you’re not quite presenting yourself in the best light. You may not be aware of certain things that recruiters and hiring managers in your field are looking for or like to see.

Solution: Bring Others into the Loop

You should always have two or three other people read over your CV for spelling, grammar and sentence construction and overall flow. These extra pairs of eyes will help you put the finishing touches on your CV, and that extra bit of polish can be the difference between a rejection and an interview request.


Even better is reaching out to people you know who are currently employed in the field you’re applying for, especially those who have participated in hiring decisions. Top CV will review your CV for FREE! They will know the kinds of things your CV should have on it to attract attention, and just as importantly, what not to put on there. Utilizing the insights and experience of knowledgeable insiders can go a long way to tailoring your resume to the job in Singapore you’re trying for.

If you keep these tips in mind, with a little bit of luck your chances of landing that dream job will improve significantly.

Please feel free to submit your CV to Future Work and subscribe for future updates and job tips. Happy job seeking!

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Common Mistakes Job Seekers Make and How to Avoid Them