5 Ways to Scare Off Employers During the Job Search

Don’t scare away employers with these five job search mistakes!


My breath catches in my throat as I peer through my fingers. Fear slithers up my spine and I try to ignore the chills. I almost can’t bear to go on.

… And I thought Shakespeare’s witches were scary. This takes it to a whole other level.

Double, double, job search trouble. Fire burns as job-seekers struggle.

Talk about curses! As I read over these five job search errors, it’s hard not to be horrified on behalf of the naive job-seekers who make them. But beware—committing one of these mistakes will have employers running in the other direction and make Freddy Krueger look like an ideal candidate in comparison.

  • Résumés Over One Page in Length

You know how in most scary movies the beginning is always pretty nice? The family is happy, there’s a lot of sunshine, and everything seems to be going smoothly. It’s, like, why can’t the movie just stop there? But it doesn’t! Night hits and there’s some freaky-deaky noise that the father just has to go “investigate” and you’re just like, NO! Nothing good can come from the second half of this movie!

Well, the same thing goes for your résumé. As a recent graduate, you should never go over one page. Even if you have an extensive amount of volunteer experience like this Social Media Manager applicant, your résumé should still stay on that single page. You can use your interview and cover letter to go into all the gory details about your experiences.

  • Spelling Errors

Please, please, please check your work. There’s nothing scarier for an employer than receiving an application for a “Pubic” Relations Professional… Yep, one “l” can make all the difference. So, please check all of your spelling. And don’t just use one pair of eyes. Hand your résumé and cover letter to a friend or family member to look over before sending to an employer.

  • Doing No Company Research

You’ll definitely frighten away any hiring managers by doing absolutely no research on the company. There’s no faster way to get employers running in the opposite direction than by having no idea what the job entails or what the company does. I’ve personally seen phone interviews end with an abrupt “okay, thanks” and click when an applicant could give no explanation as to why they were interested in the company. Know what the company does and why that appeals to you as an applicant!

Still don’t believe me? Just check out this post on cover letter crimes and what happens to the applicants who have no idea what the company actually does.

  • Showing Up Late for Your Interview

Showing up late for your interview is as bad as hiding in a dark basement in a horror movie. Don’t do it. Before your interview, map out your route and even practice getting there. Plan to arrive ten minutes before the actual interview time (not earlier than that since you don’t want to freak out your interviewer).

Set your alarm so that you have time to get ready in the morning. You’re probably going to be nervous and want to look your best so it might take a little longer than usual to put yourself together. Take that into consideration when you’re planning on what time to wake up.

  • Not Following Up

Want to know who doesn’t get jobs? Ghosts. Why? Because they’re invisible.

By not following up with an employer or after an informational interview, you’re basically making yourself invisible. Other applicants will be sending a thank you note, mentioning something that stood out to them or a point they made during the interview, and they will show up in the employer’s mind when it comes to choosing who to hire. You will not.

So, make sure that you’re following up after every interview you do. This recent graduate made sure to keep track (and in touch) with everyone he met while networking in a new industry and it totally worked in his favor! He definitely was no ghost when it came to catching his employer’s attention.

Homework time! Don’t scare away employers with these five job search mistakes! Also, make sure to avoid other errors that could send shivers down hiring managers’ spines by heading over to our Tips & Tricks section. Or if you really want to ward off those job search dangers, subscribe to the AfterCollege Blog by adding your email at the top right of this page.


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