So you’ve applied for a job with a great resume and you’re well qualified so you feel confident you will get a call back. Keep in mind that dozens, even hundreds, of other potentially equally qualified applicants have applied as well.
A job search may take many months or even a year in the current job market. Don’t be discouraged. Being prepared is the best way to land a great job. It’s a tight job market out there.
The unemployment rate is at an all time low. When you’re applying for a job, you are doing nothing more than selling yourself on paper. Making your resume stand out in the sea of applicants is quite the challenge. Industry insiders estimate that 80% of job seekers do not have a resume and that the remaining 20% have ineffective resumes.
Begin by reviewing your resume to ensure there are no spelling or grammar errors.Is it formatted in a manner that is eye-catching yet professional? If not, perhaps it is time to go back to the drawing board or hire a professional resume writer. As an HR Manager, I can tell you what to put in your resume…and what not to.
Few resumes that come across my desk stand out and most are laced with errors. Some of the most common job application mistakes I see that create a negative impression right off the bat are:
- No cover letter or arguably worse, one that is only a few short lines.
A cover letter gives the hiring manager some insight into your personality and work ethic.
- Sell yourself shamelessly but accurately.
Give hard numbers that show that you get results! No body in the email of an electronically sent resume-just an attachment. This one drove me nuts! Don’t bother sending your resume if you can’t take the time to write in the body of the email.
- Cut and paste your cover letter into the body of the email at the very least.
An un -customized cover letter. Even worse was when an applicant had left the cover letter addressed to the last place they applied to. Customizing the letter to the hiring manager with a specific name shows effort and that you care about how you come across. Try to include a bit of information in the cover letter that shows you did your homework on the company to which you are applying.
- Obvious spelling and/or grammar errors.
Give it one more look over, just to be sure! A head shot picture on the resume (especially unprofessional ones). Unless you’re an actor or a model just don’t do it. Trust me. Sending the resume from your current work email it just looks unprofessional. You would think this is common sense but NEVER apply for other jobs from your current work email. Use your personal one. If you don’t have one, sign up for one it’s free!
- No relevant work experience for the position for which the applicant is applying.
Be realistic and don’t waste you time or the employers by applying for a position for which you are not really qualified.
Follow these tips and you’ll greatly improve your chances in your job search. Be realistic, be prepared, and be confident.
Finally, if you do score an interview, follow-up with a thank you letter to the interviewer. Few people take this important extra step. It shows good follow-up skills and keeps you fresh in the employers mind. I was the only one of sixty people who took this step when I got my HR job. Good luck!