Why They Should Matter in the Job Search:
Sometimes the simplest matters make all the difference in the potential joining together of an employer and a job searcher. These opportunities to fail occur before the first phone call is ever exchanged. If you're a job seeker, these simply rectified mistakes can keep your resume out of the no pile. They can help you find a marriage with the employer of your dreams. Here are ten things that job seekers do that relegate their applications to the slush pile.
Fail to follow the employer's directions about how to apply:
Why it Matters: By following the employer's requested application method: email, fax, mail, you brand yourself as a cooperative person who can follow directions. Also, consider the possibility that the employer is routing all applications that come via email, as an example, into a recruiting folder. Other applications may be missed completely. Delivery of your resume via mail is still acceptable, however, fewer applications come in the mail these days; they are a paper management nightmare.
Send resumes or cover letters with typos:
Why it Matters: Typos brand you as a careless person who didn't take the time to proof read your resume and cover letter. Employers judge the quality of your future work, by the quality of the documents that introduce you. Many managers use typos as a screen to eliminate candidates from contention.
Choose to leave out requested salary information:
Why it Matters: Many candidates are positive that once an employer sees their credentials, and meets them, salary wont be an issue. Their credentials will knock the socks off the employer. Dont believe it. The employer has a budget. When you don't submit your salary as requested, your resume will likely be rejected. Minimally, you cause the employer to make a screening phone call. Neither you nor the employer need to waste time in an impossible situation.
Fail to send a customized cover letter with the resume:
Why it Matters: A customized cover letter does not mean changing the lead paragraph to mention the employers company name. It means drawing the employers attention, point by point, to how well your credentials match the employers stated needs. A generic introduction is already available via your resume. Use the cover letter as your place to shine. Demonstrate whats important to you and to the employer. Connect the dots for the employer and youll likely get a call for an interview.
Leave large gaps in their employment unexplained:
Why it Matters: The first scan of a resume will reveal gaps in your employment history. Trust me. The employer always wants to know why. You took three years off to raise your child? Tell the employer up front in the cover letter. Otherwise, the employer will often reject your application. You risk the employer wondering why you have trouble finding a job. You appear undependable or, at worst, a mystery. Its hard to find great candidates. Dont eliminate yourself from the review.
Tell what the job searcher did not what was accomplished:
Why it Matters: You answered a multiline phone, provided excellent customer service, and ran the photocopy machine. Does the employer care? Not likely. The employer wants to know that you improved customer service by 120 percent. The descriptions on your resume must focus on accomplishments you were promoted three times in five years. And, make sure you label the bullet points as accomplishments or key achievements. Otherwise, your resume wont pass the thirty second glance test.
Apply for jobs for which they are way over-qualified or under-qualified:
Why it Matters: The employer has described the skills and experiences required for the position. A job description and a salary range exist. If you are way over qualified, or under-qualified, your application is suspect and is filed under no. It doesnt take long to see that a high school grad is applying for a position that requires a degree and 1-2 years of experience. Youve wasted your time applying. Youve wasted the employers time, too although I guarantee - not much time.
Exhibit problems with grammar and sentence construction:
Why it Matters: Your image is you. Application materials that demonstrate you are challenged to produce a complete sentence wont serve you well. Grammatical errors are noticed and telegraph several messages. You cant write very well. You lack attention to detail. Your ability to interact with customers is limited by your skills. Is this the message you are trying to send your potential employer? I think not. Remember, when the employer stumbles over mistakes, they rule you out.
Use out-of-the-ordinary tactics and gimmicks to draw attention to your resume:
Why it Matters: They do, but I guarantee the attention isn't positive. Employers have enough problems with discrimination laws without viewing your resume picture. Stuffing your resume envelope with confetti isn't a good idea either, even if youre applying as a creative. Sending your life history and every training certificate youve ever obtained won't earn you any points. Nor, will a copy of your degree. Save these until you've at least spent some time together. Skip the rest.
Skip Human Resources and apply to the hiring manager or the CEO:
Why it Matters: Job searching books persist in making this recommendation, and maybe it was a good one, once upon a time. It's still good when you are introducing yourself and making a professional contact. But, when applying for an advertised position, it's the death knell for your application. You tick off the HR people, who are the monitors and caretakers of the hiring process. They build the pool of candidates that managers interview. They schedule the interviews. And, believe it or not, respected HR people have a serious influence on who gets hired.
Here's a Bonus Tip:
If you've ever been tempted to show up at an employer's place of business with your professional resume in hand, examine your brain for poor thinking. The employer is unprepared for you; they don't have time for you. You've invaded their space without permission and you're unlikely to receive a welcome. Now we've come full cycle: the only exception to this rule occurs when you avoid deadly sin number one, "Fail to follow the employers directions about how to apply." If asked, stop by; otherwise, this tactic doesn't fly.