The job search game has changed quite a bit over the past decade; applications are now processed online, and social media accounts are becoming just as valuable in reviewing applicants as the actual resume. Before you presume that the old rules don't apply, however, check out these classic errors that could be costing you the next big job opportunity. (Find out how to decide between these two financial professions. See Broker Or Trader: Which Career Is Right For You?)

TUTORIAL: How To Write A Business Plan

Going Out of Your League
It's nice when you feel confident in your abilities, and most employers will applaud any self-assured applicant over someone who needs continual coaching to perform. By applying for a job that you are seriously not competent to do, however, you waste your time in submitting the application and the time of the hiring manager. When HR departments continually receive applications from prospects that practice serious "wishful thinking," it can turn them off to considering you for any future and better-suited opportunities, as well. Keep your job searches to just those you are actually competent to handle, and keep your CV out of the shredding machine.

Running from the Past
If you called up a past employer and anonymously asked what they thought of your performance, what would they say? Unfortunately, it just takes one historical error (or perceived lack of performance) to taint the perception of all future employers. Your best bet is to make sure that you leave your jobs on good terms, but if that isn't possible, find out what they are saying about you before you continue the job search. professions.

Ignoring Your Weaknesses
No one is perfect, so forget about trying to pass yourself of as faultless at your next interview. In fact, the traditional advice of "make a strength seem like a weakness" may backfire, as many hiring managers have heard one too many claims of workaholic tendencies and trying too hard at a career. Instead of playing the same game, it may be best to present your case honestly, and explain how a past weakness has actually been resolved in your life. For example, you used to be slightly unorganized, but a change in processes has allowed you to be more productive at your past job and even enriched your home life. Showing that you can solve problems and make a lasting change may be more valuable than the interview "doublespeak" HR teams are becoming numb to.

Failing to Find Out about the Company
Doing a little research about the job you'll be applying for isn't just smart, it's essential. When finding data to present in an interview or on an application, however, avoid reciting useless facts and one-liners from the latest press releases. Instead, seek to answer questions such as: What kind of charity groups is the company aligned with? Does the CEO have a unique hobby that you also care about? Will there be any new projects in the coming months that could specifically benefit from your expertise? By giving your demonstrated knowledge of the company a personal touch, the hiring manager will be forced to see that you can do more than memorize quotes for their website; they will realize that you are willing to understand the vision for their business.

Not Following Directions
Last, but certainly not least, is the most avoidable of all mistakes, and it involves a skill that should have been learned in Kindergarten: do what the application process tells you. While we would like to think that there is some secret code to getting your application to the top of the pile, it more than likely involves timing, a little luck and following directions to the letter. If the employer explicitly states "no phone calls, please" - by all means, don't call! If a resume is required instead of a CV, you have better do what they say. Failing to follow directions does more than send your application to the trash bin; it demonstrates your inability to complete a basic task - something a future employer will not take lightly.

The Bottom Line
As competition for jobs increases, it's important that you not waste time by making major errors in the application process. Slow down, stay on task and make informed decisions in the jobs you choose to aim for. Attention to detail really does count! (It's not just your friends who can find your information - potential employers may visit as well. Check out 6 Career-Killing Facebook Mistakes.)

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Broker Or Trader: Which Career Is Right For You?

    Both brokers and traders buy and sell securities, but there are some subtle differences between the two careers.
  2. Professionals

    Financial Career Options For Professionals

    A career in finance can take a business professional down many different paths.
  3. FA

    The Basics of The Series 79 Exam

    Passing the Series 79 exam is usually necessary for anyone who wants to work in investment banking.
  4. Professionals

    10 Steps To A Career In Hedge Funds

    The first step to getting your hedge fund career started is to be sure you really want to work for a hedge fund. If you do, it’ll show in your actions.
  5. Professionals

    Business Analyst: Job Description & Average Salary

    Learn the different types of business analyst careers available; understand the skills and education needed and the salary you can expect to make.
  6. Entrepreneurship

    How To Make Money With Domain Names

    Domain names are hot commodities in today’s tech-centric world, and for good reason.
  7. Professionals

    How To Get A Job On Wall Street

    Although Wall Street has its share of problems, finding people who want to become traders isn’t one of them.
  8. Professionals

    Financial Analyst: Job Description & Average Salary

    Understand the types of career paths you can take as a financial analyst, and learn the education and skills you need to launch a career in this field.
  9. Entrepreneurship

    Top Resume Strategies For New Grads In Finance

    Your resume is the key to getting that first great job out of college. Here’s how to get it noticed.
  10. Executive Compensation

    Treasurer: Job Description & Average Salary

    Discover more about the responsibilities of a treasurer and the skills needed for this position, as well as the average annual salary of a treasurer.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Does a financial advisor need an MBA?

    Obtaining a license as a financial adviser does not require an Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Certified ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can an investment banker switch to a career in corporate finance?

    It's pretty easy for an investment banker to switch to a career in corporate finance. The career skills are easily transferable, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I get started with a career in asset management?

    The asset management industry has a variety of different career paths. Depending on what asset management area you would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Other than accounting, what does a corporate finance job involve?

    While a corporate finance job almost always involves accounting in some capacity, there are many additional job duties and ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are some common questions an interviewer may ask during an interview for a position ...

    When interviewing for a job at an investment bank, a candidate is likely to answer questions about his career and education ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  2. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  3. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  4. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  5. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  6. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
Trading Center