These Mistakes Could Cost You a Chance at Your Dream Job

These Mistakes Could Cost You a Chance at Your Dream Job
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For too many transitioning servicemembers, along with others seeking a fresh start on their career journey, the idea of finding a “dream job” remains just that – wishful thinking that goes without action.


But there is a clear path to bringing a dream job into reality. And MOAA’s career resources can help.


Guidance from our team of experts runs the gamut – from building a better résumé to networking for success to standing above the pack in your next interview. Our articles, archived webinars, and exclusive publications will help you make the right moves on your path to success.


That said … there are plenty of wrong moves. Here’s a quick look at some of the more common stumbling blocks you should avoid as you pursue your dream job.


Résumé Writing

  • Overfilling: You’re justifiably proud of what you’ve accomplished in uniform or in other professional positions … but your employer doesn’t need to know all the gritty details. And if those details are crammed into an overflowing, narrow-margined, small-fonted résumé, there’s a good chance it won’t get past the first read.

  • One Size Fits All: You’ve spent a lot of time on that résumé, but by no means is it a one-and-done process. Each job application should come with a résumé tailored to the position at hand – adapt your messaging to your target if you want to rise above the rest.


[RELATED: More Resume Resources From MOAA]



  • Social Network Struggles: Your LinkedIn profile likely will serve as your calling card for your next employer – and they don’t want to see an account without a profile photo, or with a résumé uploaded sloppily into the profile. In a professional setting, avoid looking amateurish – MOAA’s LinkedIn guidance is a good starting point.

  • Missing the Message: Yes, you want your professional interactions to result in landing the ideal position. But that doesn’t mean entering a networking event and asking for a job – networking should be an information-gathering activity, not a marketing blitz.


[RELATED: More Networking and Social Media Resources From MOAA]



  • (Over)Telling Your Story: You may very well have become interested in flying jets when you were 7 and went to your first airshow … but there’s a difference between a snappy anecdote and retelling your life story to a mildly disinterested hiring manager. Be sure you are aware of that difference.

  • Going Negative: Many interviewees have tales of bad bosses or toxic workplaces – in some cases, they may be the primary driver for testing the job market. However, prospective employers are less concerned about your background and more about what you can bring to their business – be sure the focus stays on that message.


Need more? Keep up with the latest from MOAA at, or check out our regular LinkedIn newsletter, Your Next Step: MOAA's Military Transition Report, for links to new articles and upcoming events.


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About the Author

Capt. Pat L. Williams, USN (Ret), PhD, PHR®
Capt. Pat L. Williams, USN (Ret), PhD, PHR®

Williams serves as MOAA's Program Director, Engagement and Transition Services. She served 35 years in the Navy in multiple high visibility leadership positions. She is a Certified Professional in Human Resources.