Job Search Strategies That Will Make or Break You


By Kristen Carter
Contributor, Career Services

** This article originally appeared on the blog ****

“I’ve applied to hundreds of jobs” is not an uncommon statement heard in my role as a career coach. However, this immediately sends up a red flag: you’ve cast out a wide net in hopes of receiving a few bites. The problem with this approach is that you are likely not setting yourself apart from other applicants or customizing your resume for the job, and that leads to the question: are you submitting too many job applications?

Personally, I find less is more when applying for jobs. The focus should be quality over quantity. While desperate times in your job search may cause you to use desperate measures, be intentional about not demonstrating to potential employers that you are in fact desperate and willing to take anything.

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7 Fatal Resume Errors

You don't want to just make a good impression, you want to make a lasting impression.

My company was recently recruiting for an experienced hire (5-10 years) and I was given the task of reviewing resumes and recommending a short list of candidates to interview. The vast majority of resumes were very well written and had good formats. There were a few, however, that were just scary. Misspelled words, missing punctuation, poor content. There was one in particular that read as if it was a very first draft.

You don’t want to just make a good impression, you want to make a lasting impression. Your resume is your first (and hopefully not your last) chance to do that. Get your resume right and you stand a good chance at getting an interview.

Where can it go wrong? Read on.

1. Misspellings and Grammatical Errors

There is nothing that will get your resume discarded more quickly than errors. There is really no excuse these days for sending a resume (or any document for that matter) that has misspellings or grammatical errors. Spell check has been around forever and most word processing programs include a grammar checker. Read your resume several times before sending.  The best piece of advice is to get someone to proofread it for you.

2. Resume Writers

I’m not saying that you should not use a resume writer. Professional resume writers can be extremely helpful and many times make the difference between a great resume and a piece of, well you get the point. If you decide to get help in writing your resume, make sure that they know all about you. Spend time talking with them so that they get a good understanding of your experience and the type of job you want to get. Just sending your information to someone who you expect will produce the perfect resume is a big mistake. Engage and own the process.

3. Not Focused

You need to be specific about what you’ve done (your accomplishments) and the outcome (such as savings, improved sales, reduced errors, etc.). Something like “worked in marketing” does not really say anything. A focused sentence might say “Created cost effective marketing campaigns for the head of Marketing”.

4. Gaps in Your Resume

Many people have had gaps in their employment. Mergers, bankruptcies, discontinued businesses, there are many reasons why you may have a period of unemployment.  There are several ways you can handle this. The easiest way is to not use a chronological resume format. Any volunteer work or contract work you did during your period of unemployment should be included as well.

5. No Keywords

Today’s tip of the day.  Resumes are scanned by most companies and job search sites. Hiring managers will look for resumes that include many of the keywords that are included in their job descriptions. While it’s important that you include your accomplishments on your resume, it is also important that you include keywords for your industry and job title.

6. A Politically Incorrect Email Address:

I’ve seen (and given) this advice before, and you would think that it was not necessary. But believe it or not, this is a very common mistake. I usually suggest that you create a new email address just for job search. Using some variation of your name is the best way to go.  If your personal email address is something like “”, I would suggest using something else (even if you are very proud of your beer drinking prowess).

7. What You Do in Your Spare Time:

Hiring managers want to know that you have interests outside of your job. Sports, camping, travel, etc. are all great hobbies. Avoid anything that might cause discrimination. Political organizations is a good example and should not be included on your resume.

Review your resume and don’t be a victim of these resume errors.

√ Resume Tip: Include Keywords in Your Resume- Leverage the same keywords in your resume that are used in job descriptions for jobs where you want to apply.

Also take a look at 150 Funniest Resume Mistakes, Bloopers and Blunders Ever.  Funny stuff and worth a read.

Book Review of the DayBest KeyWords for Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews: Powerful Communication Tools for Success – Keywords are key (pun intended) if you want your resume to show up in searches. This book, by Wendy Enelow, will help you identify all of the keywords that you should include on your resume.

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,

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Looking For An Internship – What To Expect From Employers

Dream Big

Did you know that 59.3 percent of students complete two or more internships before entering the entry-level workforce? As internships rise in popularity, so does the level of competition for landing one. If you’re on the hot pursuit of an internship, you’ve got to go above and beyond to stand out to employers.

One simple way to get ahead in your internship search is to check out what employers are currently offering and what they expect from their intern candidates. There is a wide range of online platforms to helps students find internships as well as helping companies to hire talented students. Internship seekers can gain insight into several trends taking place in regards to internships if they do their homework (no pun intended).

Keep these points in mind as you search for your internship:

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Investing in Yourself


Curious people often look at successful entrepreneurs, such as Steve Wynn Las Vegas icon, with admiration. They may wonder if it was just luck that brought the person so much affluence. Most self-made people, however, worked very hard to achieve their successes and continue to strive within their given industry. People who want to achieve a better tomorrow must invest in themselves and work hard to build a wealthy life.

Education Comes First

It’s almost impossible to be a successful businessperson without a higher education background. Complete a four-year college degree and even strive for more schooling in this competitive world. College readies the mind for the business world, giving students the power to climb the corporate ladder or even enter on a higher floor. Employers need to know a person can commit to a project and complete it. A college degree is an accomplishment covering years of commitment.

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Modern Tools for Modern Job Search

Modern Tools

A few years ago I was having some work done in my house by a carpenter. While he was in my house, my wife sent me out to get a new mailbox that I had to hang on the front of my house (which is brick). No problem (I thought), I removed the old mailbox only to find the the holes in the new mailbox did not match (why should it be easy). I realized that I didn’t have the right tools to drill a new hole in the brick. So of course I asked the carpenter to drill anew hole for me. He didn’t drill a hole in the brick, he drilled a new hole in the mailbox (which was a lot easier). Right tools and right approach, both are key to a successful job search (not to mention hanging a new mailbox). Today’s post is a collection lists and tools you can use in your job search.

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