Monday, October 25, 2010

Are You Making These Common Job Application Mistakes?

By Vanessa Renee

Job Vacancies, Employment Jobs, Employment

Have you ever submitted what you thought was a polished resume for the perfect job for you, only to never hear a peep out of the company? You may even persist and e-mail the recruiter, or call the HR department to no avail.

If this scenario sounds familiar, there are a host of reasons that your resume may have found the bottom of a trash can. Maybe the boss succumbed to nepotism and hired his wife's cousin, or the company determined the position was unnecessary and decided not to fill it. Chances are though that if you're repeatedly not getting calls back, maybe the problem is your approach to applying for the job.

Here is a list of things you might be doing wrong:

- Using an unprofessional e-mail address - Many of us have had e-mail addresses for many years, but if the address you selected for yourself at the age of 18 was "2hot4U" or "yourmama", then it is time to create a professional e-mail address. Your e-mail address is one of the first impressions that you make on a company when you send your resume, so select an e-mail address that is simple and professional. Try a combination of your given name and initials.

- Leaving the subject line of the e-mail blank - Today's job market is very competitive with hundreds and sometimes thousands of applicants for each job opening within a company. If you don't bother writing a subject line for your e-mail, it is likely that it may never get opened. Your subject line should indicate the position for which you are applying. For an accounting job you may try something like, "10 years experience in public accounting for position number 484768."

- Not following directions - Make sure to take the time to read all directions given in the job description, and on the company employment website. Sometimes there are requirements, such as filling out certain surveys or forms, or submitting writing samples. If you skip these steps and just send your resume, it is unlikely that the company will take the time to hunt you down to get the information when they have hundreds of qualified candidates who did follow the directions. Also, the long profiles they sometimes require go into a database where HR can search for potential candidates, so without filling out that form, you may completely exclude yourself from being considered for that position

- Attaching a resume in an obsolete format. Another way to get overlooked for that dream job is to attach your resume in a format that is not commonly used. If the hiring manager can't open your resume, you're likely not getting the job. Nearly all companies use Microsoft Word or a compatible word processing program, so that is a safe bet. You can also send your resume in a PDF format if you are concerned about how the spacing and margins may look on another computer.

- Relying too heavily on spell check. Spell check is a great invention, however trusting your resume to this automatic feature is a bad idea. Spell check could replace a misspelled word with a completely unrelated word, or you may have used the incorrect word, but spelled it correctly and spell check will not catch that. Examples are the homophones to, too, and two, or their, there, and they're. So use the spell check, but then make sure to read over it several friends, and it's always a good idea to ask a friend to look it over as well.

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