Beta 42

Research and Development


Mistakes That Kill Your Job Search

CVs and Cover Letters

  1. Not customising your CV for each job submittal. Each CV you submit should be tailored to the position, highlighting those dimensions of your background that are most important to the job.

  2. Only using job boards to search for opportunities. The least effective way to find a job is by applying to job listings on job boards. Other, more useful tactics for identifying job opportunities include networking with colleagues, targeting specific companies, and attending professional association meetings, to name just a few.

  3. Not using Cover Letters. Cover Letters provide a way to highlight the personal qualities and accomplishments that differentiate you from other applicants. Your cover letter also allows you to draw the reader’s attention to the parts of your background that are most applicable to the specific job.

  4. Not following up on CVs and interviews. Professional follow-through on CV submittals and interviews helps set you apart, puts your name in front of the hiring authorities, and demonstrates your interest in the company and position.

  5. Not taking extra copies of your CV and Cover Letter to each interview. Interviewers are notorious for forgetting to bring your CV to the interview, so demonstrate your preparedness by taking extra copies for them. You may also meet people who have not seen your CV before.

  6. Lying on your CV or at any point in the hiring process. Lying is very high risk, both during the selection process and after you get hired.

  7. Putting personal information on your CV. Personal data is irrelevant to the hiring process. Companies are governed by law to not discriminate based on personal characteristics or circumstances. Listing personal information on your CV, which used to be standard, is now viewed as unprofessional.

  8. Using too many fonts and text effects on your CV. A CV must be easy to read and understand. Use no more than two fonts – one is best. It’s good to highlight specific words in your CV by making them bold, but you should generally avoid underlining or heavy use of italics, which can affect scan ability.


  1. Not preparing intellectually and emotionally for interviews. The interview is the most important moment in your job search and as such, it requires solid intellectual and emotional preparation. Researching the company is just the beginning. Research the background of the people you will meet (use the corporate web site or online profiles). Practice answering the most common interview questions, and the questions you fear most. Prepare five questions you will ask during the interview. Finally, get yourself in the most resourceful and positive mood for the interview. Candidates perform their best when feeling spectacular.

  2. Not sending a thank you note after interviews. Send a thank you note to every interviewer. This one technique demonstrates your professionalism and interest, and can make the difference between getting and not getting an offer.

References and Background

  1. Disclosing unflattering data on social network profiles. Many employers check social networking sites (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) for additional data about potential employees. Review your online profiles and disclose only professional and positive information.

  2. Not pre-qualifying your references. Make certain your references are absolutely comfortable providing a stellar recommendation for you.