Finding a job can be tough. Between filling out application after application to juggling phone, Skype, and in-person interviews, job seekers may feel like landing the gig all too often seems to turn into a survival of the fittest contest.
Unfortunately, sometimes that can lead you to take drastic measures. And while you want to find ways to stand out among the sea of candidates, there are times when that may not be in your best interest.
Even though I’m not a recruiter myself, I tend to hear about job seeker faux pas quite a bit from other colleagues. Here are nine things all job seekers should stop doing immediately.
1. Dropping a note in the comments section.
Recruiters and business owners often use social media to get the word out about job opportunities. In their post, they’ll typically have instructions on how to apply for the job. But when job seekers write “interested” or “please review my profile” in the comments section on the post and leave it at that, you’re not showing the recruiter any initiative. Instead, it shows them that you can’t (or won’t) follow directions and doesn’t lead to a good impression at all.
2. Sending a “naked” resume.
If you want to get noticed, always send a cover letter with your resume. This can be one of the only ways to show a recruiter your personality early on, so use this time wisely! Explain why you’re interested in this particular career and what attributes you can bring to the table. And for goodness sakes, show some enthusiasm here too.
3. Mismatched work history.
Since social media sites are such an instrumental part of the job search and hiring process these days, it’s important that all of your information across platforms matches up. Having a different employment history listed on LinkedIn than what shows on your resume, for example, may raise a red flag with HR and result in you getting passed over.
4. Incomplete LinkedIn profile.
If you’re using LinkedIn to apply for jobs or reach out to hiring managers and recruiters, an incomplete, bare bones profile may not make the cut. At a minimum, make sure you have a professional up-to-date headshot and list your first and last name, employment history, educational background, and contact information.
5. Tweeting without a filter.
Tweeting (or any type of online posting for that matter) anything negative about your employer or coworkers is a huge no-no. We all have rough days at work, but laying out all of the details online is a surefire way to turn off recruiters and get yourself into hot water with your current employer. Recruiters will likely check out your public social media profiles, so keep them locked down tight or else keep them free of workplace drama, vulgarity, and inappropriate pictures and messages.
And it’s worth noting, refrain from expressing your disdain for HR folks and recruiters who don’t respond to your application. Social media is not the place for this and it won’t gain you any traction. You’ll be viewed as negative and difficult, two traits guaranteed to turn even more recruiters away.
6. Submitting an unedited resume.
Candidates may feel rushed to get their resume submitted as quickly as possible, so they send it in before proofreading it. But not taking the time to proofread it can mean the end of the hiring road. You need to have someone — whether it’s a friend, your brother, or a paid expert — give it at least a quick onceover first. The same goes for cover letters and email messages too. Multiple spelling and grammatical errors, missing words, or a wall of text can be a deal-breaker.
7. Doing an en masse submission.
Similar to my last point, applying for jobs isn’t usually anyone’s idea of a good time and many job seekers may try to devise a way to get the most bang for their application buck. Unfortunately, this can sometimes translate into you blindly blasting your resume out to hundreds of companies and recruiters without taking the time to research the positions or vet the company to make sure it’s the right place for you. Doing your due diligence and being selective can save time and wasted energy for all involved.
8. Going silent post-interview.
While you don’t want to fall into the trap of pestering the recruiter or HR person, you do want to make the effort to follow-up after the interview. Keep the message short, simple, and professional, but sending a quick thank you note, card, or email can leave a positive impression.
9. Don’t be a bridge burner.
If it pans out that you aren’t offered the job, now is not the time to lose your cool. You never know what might happen down the road — maybe a similar position will open up or you may cross paths with the hr service group or recruiter again. So if you react in a negative, nasty, or unprofessional way, that bridge may be long, long gone.
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