Barbara Safani 11 Comments
In honor of April Fool’s day, the Career Collective is tackling a few important and timely questions: How are you fooling yourself about your career /job search? What can you do about it, and how to avoid being tricked by common job search blunders.

I come in contact with people every day who are fooling themselves into thinking “they’ve got this job search thing down” or refuse to accept the new realities of today’s job search. Unfortunately they continue to fool themselves day after day and those days often turn into weeks, months, or even years as they continue to remain unemployed. If you aren’t getting interviews your search isn’t working. Are you fooling yourself and are you guilty of any of the scenarios below?
  1. You are expecting to get calls for interviews because you posted your resume online. Despite all the advice and statistics to the contrary, job seekers continue to spend most of their job search time posting on job boards. It’s fine to apply for positions that you are truly qualified for online. But is is imperative that you create alternative plans for getting your foot in the door at those employers. Talk to recruiters, find someone in your network who may know someone at the company, or use tools such as LinkedIn or Jigsaw to find a potential decision maker at that company. Posting on the job boards with thousands of other applicants will rarely get you noticed.
  2. You think keywords in resumes are a “nice to have”. More and more recruiters and hiring managers are using applicant tracking systems to source candidates and they may never find you if your resume doesn’t contain relevant keywords. Stop debating the importance of keywords and start putting them in your resume. Applicant tracking systems are getting more sophisticated and they are here to stay.
  3. You think the format and presentation of your resume is inconsequential. I often write posts about the importance of what I call “resume bling”…the use of visuals such as graphs and charts and in some cases color or images to prove impact or differentiate oneself from the pack. This idea continues to scare people who think this isn’t proper resume etiquette because it will make their resume look different. Ah…sorry…looking different is the point.
  4. You think networking is just brown nosing. I get these comments about networking all the time and even hear from people who say they would never “stoop” to trying to build relationships with people as part of their job search. They are missing the boat on the concept of giving to get and being authentic. People want to do business with people they know. Take a general interest in people…always…and they will be there to help you when you need an introduction.
  5. You think online networking is not necessary for you. Sometimes my senior level clients tell me they are very well known in their professional circles, so LinkedIn is not necessary for them. They may be well known, but many hiring managers and recruiters expect to see a consistent online representation of who you are professionally.

Take a long hard look at your search strategy. Are you making progress or just fooling yourself? You can read posts on this topic from my colleagues below.

10 Ways to Tell if Your Job Search is a Joke, @careerealism

April Fool’s Day – Who’s Fooling Who?, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

If It’s Not You and It’s Not True, You’re Fooling Yourself, @GayleHoward

Don’t Kid Yourself! (The Person You See in the Mirror is a Good Hire), @chandlee

Avoiding the Most Common Blunder, @jobhuntorg

Are you fooling yourself? Bored at work? Is it your own fault?, @keppie_careers

Hey, Job Seeker — Don’t Be a Fool!, @resumeservice

Job Search Is No Joking Matter,  @careersherpa

Is Your #Career in Recovery or Retreat? (All Joking Aside), @KCCareerCoach

9 Ways You Might Be Fooling Yourself About Your Job Search, @heatherhuhman

Don’t get tricked by these 3 job search blunders, @LaurieBerenson

Trying to hard to be nobody’s fool?,  @WorkWithIllness

It’s not all about you, @DawnBugni

Mirror ‘their’ needs, not ‘your’ wants in #jobsearch, @ValueIntoWords

Stop Fooling Yourself about your Job Hunt: Things you may be doing to sabotage yourself – @erinkennedycprw

Same as it ever was – @walterakana


  1. So many of these resonate with me Barbara from things my clients have said to me over the years. I was only chatting with a client the other day who said “How many coffees do you have to have with decision makers before they give you a job?” Somehow I don’t think he really grasped the point of networking and seemed to want to put it down to job offers by the gallon!

  2. Barb,

    Your advice here hits the bullseye for straight talk. I especially like your points on networking–and the value of relationship building without “brown nosing.” One of my favorite sayings is “it’s not who knows you that counts, it is who knows you back.” I think it’s important to take that same approach in online networking: after all, which is more important: how many friends you have or how many friends you have that are willing to vouch for you?

    Thanks for your great insight. I may share this with my MeetUp group as well.

    All the Best,

  3. Absolutely right on! Wish networking didn’t have the “brown nosing” or “using people” reputation. That attitude is so destructive and makes a job search much more difficult than it needs to be.

    Great post!

  4. Barbara,
    Excellent post that resonated! So many job seekers are simply uncomfortable with the ‘marketing’ aspects of job search (love the language, “resume bling!”).

    Initial discomfort can be overcome with time, and with practice. Simply put, once a job seeker tries the suggestions you’ve made, the fantastic results will tame all fears.


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