90% of jobseekers make these 4 mistakes

Are you unknowingly sabotaging your chances of landing your dream job? Is there something you can do to increase your probability of securing a job?

To find out common mistakes that 90% of jobseekers make (and how to unmake them), we asked two experts from the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and Ingeus who have years of employability coaching and recruitment experience behind them.

1. Failing to anticipate what hirers want to know about you

Regina Siew, a Principal Employability Coach with e2i, shares that it is common for jobseekers to overuse task-oriented statements instead of achievement-oriented statements in the description of their job experience.

In the case of one finance executive whom she helped to place in a new job, his original resume did not highlight his significant achievements and core competencies that would set him apart from the competition.

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After Regina advised him on a resume writing method that would help make his accomplishments stand out, with the revised resume, he started receiving calls for interviews, and found a job with a financial institution via e2i.

Adrian Tan, Operations Director at Ingeus, highlights that jobseekers often have confusing and incomplete resumes which are not keywords optimized. To help jobseekers create optimized resumes, Ingeus has a comprehensive CV template which jobseekers can simply fill-in-the-blanks.

You can also get a comprehensive list of examples and references to tackle areas which often lead to writer’s block (e.g. executive summary, accomplishments, reasons for leaving).

2. Not customising your cover letter and resume for each job application

Do you use and reuse generic cover letters and resumes when applying for jobs even across diverse scopes and industries?

Looking for economies of scale with that one single resume is a fatal flaw, because you are not customising and contextualising your past experience, skills and competencies to the job requirement, which may cause hirers to pass your resume over!

Regina shared the story of a jobseeker with film industry experience who was looking to switch to the F&B Industry but did not receive any call-backs from interviews after several months of job applications.

Regina observed that the jobseeker had been using a standard resume that is specific to his experience in the film industry in all his job applications.

To make his resume more relevant to each job he applied for, she advised him to highlight his competencies and transferrable skills in a functional resume format instead.

His new resume caught the attention of an F&B company who called him for an interview and subsequently hired him.

Separately, Regina advises jobseekers to check their resumes for poor formatting, inconsistent font and spacing, inappropriate use of logos, photos, font effects, colours etc. One project manager whose resume she helped to refine managed to land interviews with the revamped resume.

3. Not building an optimized LinkedIn profile

According to a 2017 poll by CareerBuilder, 61% of employers check social networking sites to research information that supports candidates’ qualifications for a job. Hence building your personal brand to stand out from the rest of the jobseekers is the new norm.


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Adrian says that putting together a good LinkedIn profile isn’t hard. It is a one-time job no matter how time consuming. The challenging part is how to make your LinkedIn profile outstanding, such as having many recommendations and connections.

Ingeus teaches jobseekers LinkedIn growth hacks where you can increase your connections by 10x with one click, a psychological hack that make people obligated to provide you with recommendations and keyword hacks to make sure you rank on page #1.

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4. Not tapping on available resources for customised advice

No man is an island, and it is ok to get customised advice from employability coaches who know the tricks of the job search.

For example, with e2i, you can get career guidance, where an employability coach will assess and identify development opportunities and job referrals.

e2i will also equip you with knowledge on the current employment trends, hiring requirements and updated job search skills through career preparation workshops, networking sessions and self-help resources.

If you’re struggling with transitioning in between jobs and unemployment, all these resources will hopefully help you towards having a positive mind-set, hope, resilience and self-reliance.

At Ingeus, jobseekers can tap on various services such as a client spotlight blog post, video resume production, job search concierge services, professional photo makeover, one-page visual resume summary and networking cards.

You can also get workshop intervention to show you how to outsmart the competition, such as using a Gallup StrengthsFinder test.

No resume is perfect (this one might be), but getting expert feedback is a good way to start, so get intervention early to make your resume a more impactful one!

Author Profile

Julia Chan has always loved science, till she realised the lack of Life Sciences jobs wouldn’t bode well for her career upon graduation.

She instead decided to make herself useful in other sectors such as education and manufacturing, doing a variety of roles such as business development, marketing and teaching, picking up an MBA along the way.

Her accumulated life experiences and perspectives as a working mother propelled her to start her own blog at JulesOfSingapore.com where she writes on a range of topics such as work, parenting, travel and government

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