Common Pitfalls Applicants Should Avoid If They Want to Make Their Dream Job a Reality

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It’s amazing how many people believe that being qualified for a job is enough to get them hired. Becoming a top-tier applicant is a job in and of itself, and the people who land their dream jobs are those who consider every aspect of the process. If you want to stand out as an A-plus applicant, you’ll avoid these common pitfalls people encounter when seeking employment.

You Fail to Clean Up Your Online Presence

Nothing can derail an otherwise spectacular candidate faster than a simple Google search. Your first step toward making sure your online persona is squeaky clean is to tidy up your social media. By deleting questionable posts and setting everything to private (or friends only), you can make sure a hiring manager doesn’t stumble onto anything disqualifying (and they will, as social media screening is increasingly on the rise).

Sometimes, a poor online reputation isn’t your fault, however. If you’ve been the victim of online lies, scams, and/or fraudulent attacks, you may be able to hire a specialized team to investigate and give you the tools you need to challenge it — legally. This may be a necessary step to fully cleansing your online presence. Online reputation management is more vital than ever.

You Fail to Be the Most Flexible

Let’s say a hiring manager is looking at a stack of applications. All of them come from qualified applicants. All are similarly experienced and professional. How does the hiring manager make a tough choice? They look for flexibility, of course. Expressing a desire to learn beyond your basic job responsibilities, put in extra hours at the office, and travel for work will help you stand out. Psychology Today even offers this bold move: offer to come on for a free trial week!

You Fail to Spruce Up Your Resume

A major pitfall you must avoid has to do with your resume, which is probably just fine. However, you don’t want an “okay” resume — you want one that is eye-catching. The biggest resume mistake you can make is failing to tailor it to fit the specific job you’re applying for. has some strong words for this one-size-fits-all approach to resume writing:

“Whenever you try to develop a generic resume to send to all job ads, you almost always end up with something employers will toss in the recycle bin.”

You Fail to Truly Impress in Your Interview

So, the hiring manager has scoured your social media and found nothing but cute dog pictures. They have looked at your tailored resume and thought, “Hey, I really like this one.” Now you’re sitting across from them (or on the phone) and you’re unprepared. Oops.

Acing your interview is your closing argument. It’s where you make the strongest case for why you should be hired. You want to woo them.

Preparing for job interviews is stressful for most people, but you can help yourself by studying up on a few things. First, take a look at common interview questions and practice some responses; work with a friend if you must. You should also do research on not only the specific company at which you’re applying but common topics in its industry. You will truly impress an interviewer if you appear hyper-prepared and knowledgeable.

Most companies want detail-oriented people. The first way you can show that you’re that type of person is to make the application process seamless. If a hiring manager sees that you’ve taken time to study, prepare, personalize a resume, and cross other Ts and dot other Is, you’re one step closer to your dream job. That is, of course, if you’re qualified.