Common Job Hunting Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them


Common Job Hunting Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them

For many expats, finding a suitable job is an essential part of making a successful move overseas.

But in the current climate finding work can be a stressful, drawn out process.

To make sure you have the best possible chance of securing the position you’re looking for, avoid these common job hunting mistakes.

Using Misplaced ‘Humour’

When applying for a job it’s important to know your audience and present a professional image to potential future employers. When you’re arranging a night out with your friends the email address ‘’ will do the job just fine, but when you’re emailing a CV or job application a casual email address could give a false impression of you.

Similarly, if a potential employer rings you to schedule an interview and gets your answer phone, hearing a message like; ‘Hey, leave me a message and I’ll get back to you once I’ve regained consciousness/stopped throwing up’ could make them think twice.

When it comes to the interview itself you may wish to make a little joke to break the ice, but tread cautiously. While it’s good to show you have a personality and a sense of humour, avoid controversial topics or offensive language and stick to safe, general jokes or observations during an interview.

Having a Questionable Online Profile

In a similar point to the one laid out above, when searching for work be very careful of the online presence you put across. The odds are your future employer will check out your Facebook or Twitter account, so make sure that the person you come across as on these forums is the person you want people to see.

Further to this, building an impressive, engaging and memorable profile on corporate networking sites like LinkedIn and using the international platform to build connections could help you considerably when it comes to landing that job.

Under Preparing

Job interviews can be scary, and the more you want a job the more daunting the application process may seem, but you can limit nerves and increase the odds of your success by preparing properly for every interview.

This doesn’t just mean wearing a suitable outfit and making sure you’re well presented (although wearing crumpled, inappropriate clothes, having unwashed hair or chipped nail varnish is unlikely to count in your favour).

As well as having a copy of your CV and any relevant qualification certificates to hand in a neat folder, you should also research the company offering the position and the role you would be expected to take on. Print off the research and highlight key passages so that even if your mind goes blank when you’re asked a question by your potential boss you have the information you need to structure a response. Don’t worry about looking at your notes during the interview, the interviewer is likely to respect the fact that you came prepared and appreciate the nerves you may be feeling.

Preparing your mind is key to keeping nerves under control, so revise, rehearse and refresh by having a good night’s sleep and an energy-supporting breakfast when D-Day arrives. Take deep breaths, think for a moment before answering each question and try and inject a bit of your personality into your replies.

Not Adapting your CV to Suit

While positions like ‘Marketing Assistant’ might cover a wide range of potential duties, each company will have a different view of what the position entails based on the responsibilities and aims of its marketing department. So, as each job is different it makes sense to adapt your CV to suit the position you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying to be a marketing assistant in a publishing company you may want to mention different hobbies, highlight different qualifications or use different language than if you were applying to be a marketing assistant in a financial services agency.

It really does pay off to take the time to make your CV suitable and play your most fitting strengths.

Telling White Lies

When applying for a position overseas, away from all your previous employers/colleagues and friends, it can be tempting to exaggerate your abilities or play a bit fast and loose with the truth.

But even a seemly harmless comment can come back to bite you in the future, and over selling your language skills or software capabilities really won’t help you in the long run.

Similarly, don’t pretend to have qualifications you don’t have. Foreign employers might just check up on that maths A level or health and safety certificate you’re claiming to have, and even if they don’t you could end up being given responsibilities you simply can’t handle on the basis of your false abilities.

What do you think?

Are there any tips you can offer for avoiding mistakes when job hunting? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter, or leave a comment in the Expat Hub forum!

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