Don't treat potential employers as therapists.

Ann Marie Sabath, author of One Minute Manners, a guidebook to appropriate behavior at work, says many job applicants see interviews as an opportunity to vent about why they're unemployed and how it has impacted their lives. That makes them appear desperate, and is hardly the spare, grounded approach that earns companies' respect.

"Instead, job seekers should share how the responsibilities of their past positions have prepared them for the job for which they are applying," Sabath recommends.

Another big mistake: Asking friends and family to help you get an interview at their organization. "While it certainly is appropriate for job seekers to ask individuals in their personal lives and business network to put in a good word for them, these people should not be confused as job seekers' personal headhunters," Sabath believes.

-- James Rubin