As you throw yourself into your job search with your entire heart and soul, leaving no stone unturned and no opportunity unexplored, you may encounter a small but real temptation to take things too far. Before you submit a resume for a job that’s just not right for you, and before you start down a path that will only break your heart, annoy your spouse, or waste your time, keep an eye out for these red flags.
1. The employers are asking you to jump through hoops that seem unreasonable or amount to unpaid labor.
It’s okay for employers to ask for any material that might help them draw conclusions about your experience and aptitude. But these materials should exist already. At the most, they should take less than an hour to create. Photos or copies of your completed work, a list of references, and a short original sample are all within bounds.
A completely new sample project that takes days to complete—or an extended period of unpaid work—sis an unethical and unreasonable request, and it signals a troubling relationship with the company if you accept an offer to work here. If you decide to comply anyway, determine beforehand how your work will be used. Make sure you’ll either get it back, or be credited and paid for your time.
2. You’re asked for something the company shouldn’t be asking for.
If you’re asked for any of these items, don’t comply, and don’t pursue a relationship with these employers: your social security number, you bank account numbers, permission to conduct a credit check, photos (unless this is a modeling job), social media passwords, money, or a medical history (unless this is relevant to the position).
3. The job is far out of town and you have absolutely no intention or ability to move.
Don’t waste your own time. It’s okay to apply if you might consider moving after receiving an offer. But if you won’t, and your spouse won’t either, and the discussion is closed before it even opens, then don’t present yourself with a source of unnecessary agony.
4. The job will compromise your principles.
Here’s the easiest way to rattle your own peace of mind and present yourself with a real and thorny host of first-world problems: apply for a job that goes against your principles, just to “see if you’ll get it.” If you know you’ll have an easy time walking away, that’s fine. But if you don’t know this, just keep looking elsewhere.
5. The job will require a skill that you know you don’t have.
Be honest with yourself. Reaching for a long-shot job is okay, and you don’t need to possess every single one of the required credentials listed in the post. This is a free country, and you can apply for any job you choose.
But again, don’t waste your own time. If you know this job is out of reach for you, and you’ll be in over your head even if you can convince these employers to hire you, keep looking for something that will provide a more realistic path to your long-term goals.
Visit LiveCareer for templates and tools that can build your resume around the positions you really want. Your time is valuable and your ambitions are focused, serious, and real. So make sure your resume reflects this fact, and give your search the attention and respect it deserves.