If you’re in desperation mode—i.e., totally miserable in your current gig or job hunting for the fourth unemployed month in a row—it’s temping to apply for any link your mouse lands on.
But if you’re set on finding a career that you actually love (which you should be!), stop applying willy-nilly to every job listing you stumble upon, and start focusing on finding the positions that make you excited to ditch your pajamas for the power suit hiding in the back of your closet.
How do you find these gems? Well, first off, you have to learn how to filter out the job listings that just aren’t worth your time. If you’re not sure exactly what to avoid, here are four signs that you should close your browser window and continue your search elsewhere.
1. It Seems a Little Fishy
If you find a job listing that doesn’t mention a specific company name, legitimate website, or any contact information besides an encrypted email address—well, that’s a sign you’re looking in the wrong place. And that, my friend, is a red flag.
While it’s possible to land a legitimate job on any website advertising job vacancies, a large number of job listings aren’t trustworthy—so it’s important to sniff out which aren’t worth your time. Reliable jobs websites like Jobberman.com allow you search and apply for real jobs.
2. You Don’t Meet the Qualifications—By a Long Shot
Beginning your job hunt with an ideal position in mind is a good start—as long as it’s within your range of skills and experience. You may want to apply for the senior-level management position that requires 10 years of experience, but if you only have three years under your belt, you won’t stand a chance next to more qualified candidates.
Of course, if you’re only short the required experience by a small margin, go for it. But if you are missing key skills or several years of experience, it’s best to spend your time either applying for a job that would be a stepping stone to your ideal position, or working to gain the skills that will help you meet those qualifications.
3. You’re Not Willing to Meet the Requirements
Sometimes, in the heat of the job-applying moment, you can convince yourself that that some requirements for the job aren’t deal breakers, as long as you finally have a job. But imagine that the company offers you the job right now.
Regardless of how appealing the job seems, keep an eye out for other requirements. Will you have to relocate? (And would you have to pay for the move yourself?) Work nights and weekends? Commute farther than you’d like? Settle for a lower salary than you expected? Are you really willing to make that kind of sacrifice? If not, it’s time to move on.
4. You Have to Convince Yourself You Want the Job
Of course, all jobs are going to require you to do things you don’t love (especially if you’re using a position as a stepping stone to something better), but my point is this: If you read a job description and have to convince yourself that only under the perfect circumstances could you potentially learn to tolerate the main responsibilities of the job—it’s not worth it.
I know how it feels to need a job. But I also know how it feels to be stuck in a job that you absolutely dread. So, take it from me: Don’t sell yourself short. Stop wasting time applying to these positions that aren’t going to result in a job you enjoy (or a job at all), and put your time and effort into finding a career you love.
Originally appeared on The Daily Muse