5 Fixable Job Search Mistakes That Are Holding You Back From Interviews

Searching for a new job is a tedious process. But one of the worst parts is learning a position you wanted was filled—before you ever even got a chance to interview.

If you find yourself in that situation over and over again, you want to figure out whatever’s holding you back so you can address it ASAP. But, the truth is: There’s no “one size fits all” solution to guarantee you’ll get an interview. Sometimes a pretty minor change (like proofreading) will make the difference. Other times, you need to revamp your overall strategy. And it can be hard to know where on the spectrum you fall.

That’s why I’ve put together five questions—in order from the smallest changes required to the largest—so you’ll know whether your job search needs some tweaks or an overhaul. I suggest you read them in order, and if the answer is yes, make that change. If it’s no, keep reading to see if something bigger is what’s holding you back.

1. Are There Glaring Errors in Your Materials?

Wouldn’t anyone know you meant “program manager” and not “porgram managger”? Maybe so, but there are three big reasons why typos hold you back:

  • They show poor attention to detail (which is called for in most positions).
  • They make it look like you rushed to put something together (and don’t really care about the position).
  • They don’t get picked up by applicant tracking systems (so you’ll rank lower when a recruiter searches for relevant resumes).

Yes? Fix It

Take a stab at looking for mistakes yourself. Do this on every application, every time. Better yet, ask a friend to review materials for typos or grammatical errors. A fresh set of eyes may be the answer to finding mistakes.

2. Is Your Cover Letter Like Everyone Else’s?

Maybe you know your resume, cover letter, and introductory email are flawless, because you use the exact same, perfect one for all positions. Sadly, this strategy will backfire.

Remember, the job description outlines exactly what the company is looking for in their ideal candidate, so it includes clues as to which of your strengths you should mention in your cover letter. If your application looks the exact same before you’ve found the role, after you’ve read about it, and when you’re ready to hit submit, you might be doing something wrong.

Yes? Fix It

A great way to stand out is to write a strong opening line. Skip “I am excited to apply for this position” and share something specific about why you’re drawn to the position or why your skills would help you excel in the role.