3 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Job Search

No, Job Sabotage isn’t your coworker putting your stapler in Jell-o or getting you blamed for something they did. It’s actually the way we sabotage ourselves when looking for a new job. There are a million ways we can unintentionally sabotage ourselves while on the hunt for a job, preventing us from getting the job we really, really want. If you’re looking to make your next move, here are a few tips to help you stop sabotaging and start rocketing into an awesome new job.

Applying for jobs you’re too good for

Even if you may be willing to work in a role that you’re plain too good for (“overqualified”), companies don’t want to invest time training an employee that’s only looking for a stepping stone role. If the company thinks you’re too good for them, why not take the hint and start looking at jobs that are better? I remember once being interested in having a part-time job at a local Starbucks. I applied a few times for the open barista role and never heard anything back. On a whim, I applied to the shift manager role I wasn’t 100% qualified for. That same day I received a phone call and had a pre-interview with one of the Starbucks recruiters. It wasn’t something I pursued further since it required a full-time commitment but the problem was I had been applying to roles I was “overqualified” for based on my resume and past managerial experience.

In your job search if you keep striking out it might be time to start aiming higher. Don’t just apply for dream jobs you’re a just bit underqualified for, pursue them! As the common phrase goes, aim for the moon, because even if you miss, you’ll still end up among the stars.

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Underselling yourself on your resume

We all have something unique we bring to the table. If your resume isn’t selling you as being the awesome person you are, you’re doing it wrong. Job applications are not the place to be shy because a lack of confidence shows up on paper. Step back and take an objective view (as best you can) of each role and think about how you would describe you if you were your own boss. Then,  rewrite your resume and talk about how what you achieved in the role was over and above expectations set on you. Don’t talk about just what you did, talk about how it was exceptional.

Which person would you hire based on this bullet?

-Managed holiday gift shipments to all clients.


-Managed an annual company-wide project and reduced cost by $5000 and saved significant employee time over the previous year by re-negotiating contracts with vendors and working with an automated packing service.

Even though the first bullet is true, it’s boring, bland and does not say anything about your abilities.  Maybe you managed the project poorly and went over budget? Plus, it doesn’t read as a transferable skill. The second is emphasizing how you did something, not what you did (which in reality it doesn’t matter what the project was) and shows you have the highly desirable skill of being able to save resources.

Lacking confidence in an interview

If you don’t have confidence in your abilities, how can a future boss have confidence in you as a candidate? A lot of candidates confuse confidence with always having an answer to every question– basically if you flub up a question you’ve already doomed yourself. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, after all, they’re hiring a human, not a robot. So what exactly does confidence in an interview look like? Remember when you were a kid and you did something really exciting that took a lot of time and effort? Maybe you trained your dog to do a trick or maybe you built a tree fort in your backyard. Whatever it was, think back to how you explained your feat to anyone and everyone around you.  You were honestly proud in that moment. Same with when you’re discussing your job history in your next interview – lt your honest pride come out. Exaggeration and boasting, however, have no place because what you did was so awesome you don’t need to embellish.

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And guess what, it’s ok to say “I don’t know” if they ask you about a particular skillset. Make sure to always finish with “but I am always trying to learn new things and in my last job I taught myself x in order to help me better do y.” Have examples ready on things that you learned to do your previous jobs better and apply it. Bosses want employees that are always growing, not ones that want to remain stagnant.

What are your tips for prevent sabotaging your job search?

3 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Job Search
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Elizabeth Becker

Elizabeth is Marketing Manager at PROTECH. Comments and feedback can be directed to her at jobs@protechfl.com.