Job Search Land Mines

9 Dangerous Job Search Land Mines To Avoid

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When you have to walk through land mines that others have laid it is understandable, but when you have laid the mines yourself, then there is a bigger problem. Land mines are meant to be a surprise for the enemy. Instead, self laid land mines are a surprise for… Well, the person that laid them. Is that you?

Digging up those land mines you’ve laid will help you in several ways:

  • You’ll be able to keep your job search in control. There are so many things you cannot control already such as, decisions by the employer, salary, personality differences and more. Why not think through potential issues and reconcile them?
  • The truth will set you free. No need to look over your shoulder. 
  • You want the hiring process and background checks as seamless as possible. If you know there is a skeleton in your employment closet, and it’s found out, expect to be disqualified.

It’s more than getting out of your own way. People in general lay land mines in their relationships. Job seekers do similar damage to their careers and job search resulting in long and unnecessary durations of unemployment that he or she could control.

Dangerous Job Search Land Mines To Avoid

See if you laid any of these land mines:

1. You Nearly Completed Paper Work

Although a job search is often tedious and grueling, it requires attention to detail and accuracy. Leaving blank spaces on applications or inconsistencies in dates and places is a problem. Whenever the employer has a cause for suspicion, they will likely investigate. The verdict: You’re lying.

2. You Didn’t Screen References

Are you sure that the people you have listed as references can speak to your competencies? You must know there are areas that your references can speak for you. If they can’t, it will be viewed negatively.

3. You Underestimated The Depth Of Background Checks

I had a client who lied to me about her job situation but didn’t know I knew at the time. I recommended her to a friend who interviewed her, impressed by her, but the FBI background check was problematic. Not that they were able to verify what was wrong other than many other things that were unverifiable. This grey line is a land mine if too many holes are unfilled or unconfirmed.

4. You Quit? No, You Were Fired!

This is an old school game where no one really wins. Companies in recent years have passed on verifying this kind of information to protect themselves against defamation lawsuits. You can call your former employer to confirm what they will say about your departure. By law, there are no restrictions in saying you were fired especially in cases of time theft or falsifying information.

5. You Didn’t Sell Yourself

If you don’t shine the light on your best attributes, then who will? If you are unsure of your best features, then look at your old performance reviews. Starting there will trigger other areas that you excel.

6. You Used The “Me, Me, Me” Networking Technique

No one responds to your requests for help because you offer no value. Are you the same person that keeps saying that my network sucks? You don’t give, share, or interact!

7. You Appeared Unteachable

No one mentors you. You lack training. No training or education courses in the last 10 years. You don’t discuss new books, seminars, or workshops.

8. You Didn’t Listen Well. (Or At All.)

Many people who don’t listen well are guilty of misunderstanding the questions being asked. The problem is the intent to receive what they want out of a conversation.

9) You Told A White Lie (It’s A Lie!)

A potential client told me, “My title is Assistant Manager, but it’s like a Co-Manager position.” How many times have we heard that line? Let me tell you how many bumped up his or her position on the resume. Too many? The right questions will reveal your true knowledge about the position. You won’t fool many if anyone by misrepresenting your experience.

We all have things that we regret, but why have things that can be researched. Have you Googled yourself lately? You should because there are mistakes that you made in the past that can be diminished or controlled. It is easier to rest and to answer questions when you realize there are issues you know will haunt you. Coaches and mentors can really help with how you appear and come across during the interview process.

Did I leave out anything? What employment skeletons did you have to confront?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Mark Anthony Dyson

Mark Anthony Dyson, founder of The Voice of Job Seekers, publishes articles and a new podcast offering sound job search advice.

5 comments

  1. Interviews need to discuss the most recent of experiences. I have interviewed people who gave biographies of their job life starting from their entry to the workforce. The applicant may have been a good operator but we were never to find out as recent relevant experiences were swamped by the long winded approach.

  2. Great article especially about telling a white lie. That can come back to haunt you in a job search and you don’t want something so small to keep you from your future.

  3. Great tips. Along the lines of not marketing your best attributes would be highlighting the wrong attributes. I see too many applicants who tout skills and abilities that make them a great fit for their current role but not for the role I am looking to hire. Candidates need to understand the needs of the employer and then showcase how their skills can address those pieces the employer is looking to fill.

  4. Very good advice. Another landmine is overstating your role in an accomplishment or project, hoping the interviewer will accept it at face value. If it doesn’t seem plausible given your position in the organization, more probing questions will unveil your deception. If you didn’t initiate or lead the activity, don’t pretend you did.

    It’s not impossible to be assigned a more important project, but bring some evidence and expect your story to be challenged. Once your credibility is lost, so is the opportunity.

    Far better is initiating and documenting achievements well in advance of job interviews. Then you don’t feel cornered into pretending.

    • Thanks for your comments. Accomplishments are validated by impact that reaches beyond the numbers on paper. Great work is measurable, but it also improves the quality of work life. That is memorable and adds substantive value to your job.

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