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How Not to Start a Job Search

As you look for employment, it's not a bad idea to spend a few minutes running through the basic "What Not To Do" rules of looking for work. Keeping these pointers in mind will ensure that a potential employer doesn't eliminate you from consideration on the basis of an error you could have avoided. The following tips are reminders of how not to start your job search.

Overselling Yourself

Western Washington University's Career Services Center recommends that job seekers avoid including an "About Me" section on their resume. Also, don't write your resume in the first person ("I achieved such-and-such"), and don't try to suggest that you accomplished more than you actually did. Its important to keep cover letters factual as well. You can be enthusiastic, but don't make your cover letter longer than one page, and don't suggest you're more important or experienced than you really are. Basically, don't be long-winded and untruthful.

Neglecting Your Social Media Profiles

Before you embark on your job search, update your LinkedIn profile to show your full skill set and current employment (even if you're currently volunteering, freelancing or art part-time). This profile is a likely stop for any prospective employer, and it wont reflect well on you if you stopped updating it three years ago. While your Facebook and Twitter accounts don't have to be professional in focus, they do have to project an upstanding, responsible persona. Those photos of you and your college buddies stealing a stop sign or skinny-dipping need to be taken down before they put you out of the job market.

Trying to Look Too Creative

When you interview for most business positions, its best to use your own words to convey your unique view of the world; let your appearance demonstrate your understanding of mainstream expectations. Choose clothing that is appropriate and tidy without drawing attention to yourself. Unless you're interviewing for a job in the fashion industry, your clothing and accessories won't add points; if they attract attention, it's rarely positive.

Sounding Desperate

Even if your house is about to be repossessed, you cant gain any advantage by mentioning in an interview or cover letter how much you need a job. Potential employers didn't reach their current level of success by confusing employment with charity. They are interested in what YOU can do for THEM, not the other way around. Even if your reasoning is that you need this job so badly that you'll work any amount of overtime and you'll be the perfect employee, find a way to convey your dedication without making it sound as if you're needy. It may be unfair, but the truth is that financial desperation will communicate instability to an employer and can scare them away.

Being Indiscreet if You're Currently Employed

Don't tell co-workers that you're searching for another job. As Forbes points out, "If you tell one person at work that you're looking for a new job, you might as well tell everyone." Being discreet also means that you don't ask your current supervisor for a reference, you don't use your company computer to look for work and you don't mention anything about job hunting on your social media profiles. The only possible exception to this, they add, is if your boss has already told you that layoffs are planned in the near future and has offered to assist you with your job search. Utilize privacy settings on LinkedIn and on job boards.