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The Number 1 Mistake Job-Seekers Make

Jennifer Eberhart
May 30, 2017

Is this error preventing you from getting a job? Here are 7 ways to tell.



Here at Care.com, we see caregivers making the same errors over and over when they're trying to find a job. But what is the #1 mistake job-seekers make? Not reading the job description!

If you're not getting a response to your applications, this may be the culprit. Job experts Lindsey Pollak and Lisa Adams provide seven warning signs you might be making this mistake when it comes to your job search.

  1. You Ask Basic Questions
    When you apply to a job, do you ask questions like: how many kids do you have, how long are the hours or when does the job start? These basic questions are almost always answered in the job description. While asking follow up questions for more detail is perfectly fine, asking something that is already mentioned shows you didn't take the time to read the job ad. When potential employers receive applications like this, they may just delete them.

  2. You Make Simple Mistakes
    Addressing your message to the wrong name can be the kiss of death in a job search. Double-check the name in the job ad with the name you wrote.

  3. You Only Read the Parts Relevant to You
    Employers often have a long wish list of characteristics they'd like their next employee to embody, and they'll usually include that list in their job description. Remember that it's important to read the job description carefully. While you may not be able to check off every single qualification, don't let that deter you from applying.

    On the flip side, if an employer lists 10 must-have qualifications and you meet none or only one or two of them, this may not be the best fit and you may be wasting your time applying.

  4. You Don't Mention Your Challenges
    Adams suggests that you address any traits or skills listed you don't necessarily have. Let the employer know you recognize you don't have every last one of those qualifications, but you are willing to learn -- and the skills you do already have are far superior to any potential challenges.

  5. Your Cover Letter Is Too General
    Are you using the same response for every application? Changing the employer's name doesn't mean you're all set. Each job is different and requires you to read the job description and edit your materials. Talk about the specific job qualifications mentioned in the job ad and how you fit them.

  6. You Don't Answer Questions
    Some potential employers ask questions in a job description. A family may want to know about your favorite activities for two-year-olds. They use these responses to narrow down candidates. If you don't provide an answer, they may discount you completely.

  7. You Don't Look at the Benefits
    Pollak, author of "Getting from College to Career," says one of the biggest mistakes job-seekers make when rushing through the job description is they don't look at the full benefits, which count as part of your total compensation. Does the application mention things like holiday pay, overtime, health insurance or even room and board? Is the employer interested in paying you legally with employment taxes and all the government benefits that accompany that? You may pass on a job that has a low hourly rate, not realizing that the additional benefits are great.

So remember, the job description is the first thing you should look at and the last thing you should review before sending your application to a family or company.

Want more help? Check out the 10 Most Common Mistakes Made on Care.com »

Jennifer Eberhart is a freelance writer based in New York City.

May 13, 2016

Creative blog post . I am thankful for the analysis , Does anyone know where I would be able to find a fillable a form version to work with ?

I'm so glad to be reading these comments. I rarely get any responses to my applications and I have thought it might be due to age and over qualification. Now I know I'm not alone. Besides years of experience as a nanny and baby sitter, I also have a Master's degree and work with special needs kids...I'd thought that might be a plus. I'm only asked for $15.$20 an hour and I usually get double that. OK. I'm an older woman my birthdate should not appear on my profile, but Care.com will not remove it. Here's what I want to toss out there and hope to get some feed back on, particularly for employers like Matt N. who thinks that $10.00 and hr. is fitting a person with little experience. I have worked for some of the richest people in Beverly Hills. and you'd think I was taking their life's saving from them. I have discovered some of the riches people are the stingiest no matter how much you do for them. So here's what I want to know. Do these people realize that We, the Nannies, Babysitter, Care givers, are in charge of their most prized treasures; their Children and their homes.We need to be more than respected, we need to be treated and regarded as such; VIP. With that, we need to give them the highest regard also, but this old idea of Master/Slave must go. People will treat you as you treat yourself most of the time, but not always and I'm indebted to the person who gave us the Federal Labor Code as to not be abused financially or in any other way. I'm also indebted to Care.com for providing us with all the added information such as how to charge and how to get it. Stacy M. I really hear you girl! I worked for a multi billionaire in Beverly Hills and their children were outrageously spoiled. I worked with a British nanny. The boys used to kick us, scratch us, curse us and then be as sweet as apple pie. They could get away with it because we needed the job. This is a field that needs serious representation for fair and just treatment. I also worked for a family where they treated their nanny like gold and she stole from their bank account. So, this goes both ways. I'd suggest, like I've seen here, that we get everything out in the open. If situations change, then alter the money of other fair exchanges. The most fair I have been treated was when I joined agencies that looked after the nannies as well as the client. usually, agencies are like Slave traders, they favor the client and treat the care giver like a slave; thus setting the tone. Please, treal yourself like a Queen and don't let others do any less.

May 29, 2015

So I can't apply for job

Jan. 14, 2015

I think I agree with most comments. The only issue I have is that the families I applied never return an answer to my application. And they don't follow what they mention in their requirements. Some families wants you to work more hours and pay no overtime. I think I need to work according to my pay as well as they get pay from their own jobs too.

User in Seattle, WA
Nov. 7, 2014

After reading through many of the complaints, I have to say my experience on Care.Com has been very different! I've been active on Care.com for 2 months, & have had many successful interactions & interviews. In fact, one of the interviews I was contacted for, I turned down. Why? Because I felt from the potential employer's communication, that there was a lack of respect. That is not acceptable, period. However, the next day I accepted an interview & really \

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