Have you made mistakes in your job search and wish you could have a do-over? Many people look back at their overall career and realize or wish they could have done things differently. You might be one of those people.

While do-overs aren’t always possible, there are some things you can do to avoid job search regrets. Listed below are some common job search regrets and a few tips on how to avoid them.

Regret 1: Being impatient in your job search

Most job seekers are looking for a job because they’re in need of work. Others are seeking a career transition to a new field or industry. No matter the reason, most often the biggest regret in a job search is being impatient. You have bills to pay, so you need a job now. Right?

No matter the reason, most often the biggest regret in a job search is being impatient. @NidaSea #SmartTalkHR @RiseSmart https://bit.ly/2BF4BUy

While that can be good motivation to stay diligent in your job search, don’t allow impatience to push you into taking any job that comes your way.

Avoid regrets: Stay focused and patient

Try to keep the end goal in mind. You want to find a job, but not just any job. You want a job that you’ll enjoy and with an employer that you want to work for. Finding the right job and company takes time, and it almost never happens immediately.

5 Ways to Control Your Job Search and Accept What You Can’t Control


Stay focused on your search. If you’ve been laid off, put away your severance to use for necessities and bills. When the opportunity does come along, you’ll want to negotiate your salary and benefits to your satisfaction. Try to avoid accepting a job without getting into the details.

Regret 2: Not reviewing the job requirements completely

Regrets can happen if you’re being impatient during a job search. Instead of fully reviewing the job requirements and details, you find out the bad and not-so-good news after you’ve already accepted it. A few things you might discover include:

  • Additional job duties not included in the job description
  • Company policies with which you don’t want to comply
  • Coworkers you didn’t have a positive connection with during the interview process
  • Requirements for relocation

Avoid regrets: Do your research

Nothing is worse than ending up at a job you despise. Before accepting any job, take your time to review the requirements completely. Moreover, investigate the company you may be working for. Places like Glassdoor and Indeed have plenty of reviews from current and past employees, which can offer insight into a company’s atmosphere.

Begin by asking questions during your interview. Remember that the interview is an opportunity for you to find out whether the company is a good fit for you as much as it’s a time for the company to decide if they want you.

Regret 3: Letting your network languish

So, you’re conducting your job search and you find a job you’d really like. The problem is, you’re having trouble getting in the door or even a response, despite having strong credentials and a polished resume. Chances are, if you had networked with someone in this company before applying, you probably would have a much stronger opportunity of being recognized.

Related content: The Art of Making Small Talk to Improve Networking Success


Some people find their job searches to be harder because their network hasn’t been established, or it’s been neglected, or they’re afraid of the process. But, networking isn’t as difficult as it seems.

Avoid regrets: Consistently network

Networking is huge now, especially in the online world. LinkedIn is primarily used for networking, and 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their top sourcing tool to locate candidates and uncover fresh talent. But while online networking is key, in-person networking is also critical. It’s not always who you already know, but also those people who aren’t part of your network, but should be. Take some time to grow your network by adding people who work in companies you might like to join in the future or are in roles that could be beneficial to you once you start looking for a job.

Take some time to grow your network by adding people who work in companies you might like to join in the future or are in roles that could be beneficial to you once you start looking for a job. @NidaSea #SmartTalkHR @RiseSmart https://bit.ly/2BF4BUy

Regret 4: Having unrealistic expectations

Going into a job search with unrealistic or high expectations will only lead to disappointment. Unrealistic expectations of a job search include:

  • Expecting to land a job immediately
  • Finding the perfect job and expecting to be hired
  • Assuming your connections will get you a job fast
  • Conducting your job search without a plan
  • Getting a job when you’re not qualified

Keeping unrealistic expectations can lead to discouragement and frustration. While it’s good to have expectations, don’t make them so unrealistic that you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Avoid regrets: Set goals

The key to making your job search pleasant and less stressful is to set goals. For instance, the average time frame to find a job is four to six weeks. This can vary based on industry and available positions. Set goals accordingly to match your job search such as:

  • Applying to 10 – 20 jobs per week
  • Following up on applications
  • Reaching out to a new person in your network

The idea is to stay on top of your job search and maintain positive, reasonable expectations.

Regret 5: Not having a plan

Sometimes applying for jobs seems like an impulse activity. Some job seekers do it out of habit, others are curious about their options, and some are just fed up with their current job. However, if you’re seriously looking for a new job, going into your search without a set plan and making notes is a recipe for disaster.

Related content: 5 Ways to Make Your Own Luck and Score a New Job


Avoid regrets: Plan

To be successful in your job search, having a plan for your search activities can bring you better results than without one. Good planning begins with good research. Start your job search research by gathering information about the industry you’re seeking to join, then take a deeper dive into the companies you like, and finally look for available positions. Taking the time to do in-depth research on each company will help you make sure you’re selecting jobs in places where you’ll enjoy working.

Job search planning doesn’t have to be difficult. Create a spreadsheet and flesh it out with specific elements such as:

  • Industries of interest
  • Companies of interest
  • Current available jobs
  • Desired job position
  • Company ratings
  • Applications sent
  • Applications follow up status

Having a plan will allow you to write off companies you’d rather not work for, discover new opportunities, and increase your chances of landing a job much sooner.

Regret 6: Blatant mistakes on your resume or cover letter

One of the biggest regrets many job seekers have is sending a resume and cover letter to an employer, only to discover one or more of the following mistakes:

  • There are typos in the content
  • The cover letter has the wrong company name
  • Your old cell number is listed
  • Your resume doesn’t have job description keywords
  • The resume or cover letter hasn’t been updated in years

It’s not only regretful but embarrassing, and everyone’s been a victim of such circumstances. But, you don’t have to be.

Avoid regrets: Professionally rewritten resume and proofreading

Keep your documents up-to-date and flawless by having someone else review your professional career documents. If you’ve had a professional create them, let a friend or colleague review them before you send to an employer.

If it’s been some time since you’ve updated your resume or cover letter, hiring a professional resume writer can help bring your documents current and tailor them for the position in which you’re interested.

Finding and landing a new job is stressful enough. By avoiding job search regrets, you’ll make your search a little easier and have a better chance of landing a job sooner. 


Nida Sea is a blogger, copywriter, and a RiseSmart professional resume writer. Nida has helped hundreds of job seekers express their best talents in their resume. Using her marketing skills, she strives to create eye-catching, marketable career documents that help job seekers get noticed.

24 August 2018

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