When faced with a large applicant pool, employers often search for any reason possible to eliminate candidates and narrow the group. Even extremely qualified candidates can be overlooked for committing seemingly small mistakes.
The list of potential blunders is long but here are 3 easy ones to avoid in your own job search.
Basic Resume Errors
Technology can be both your friend and your enemy when searching for a job. Leverage this “frenemy” for good by making use of spell check before finalizing and sending in your resume. Remember that spell check will not catch all errors including homonyms (i.e. their, they’re and there) and spelling mistakes in ALL CAPS type (i.e. ACTIVITES). Also, when updating your previous job descriptions, read through each statement carefully to ensure that all verbs are changed to past tense (i.e. Communicated effectively with customers and provide efficient and friendly service). Ask trusted friends, family, and mentors to review your resume for errors before applying to any job.
Applying for Anything and Everything
It may take many casts to catch a fish, but if you aren't throwing your net in the right spot you’ll be going home empty handed every time. When looking for a job, be strategic in identifying the positions
that fit your skills, education and experience as well as the companies that offer the type of culture you desire. Read each job description carefully before applying and look for opportunities to highlight your best qualifications in your resume and cover letter. Make sure that your marketing materials (e.g. resume and cover letter) are tailored to each position. If you are on the fence about whether or not to apply for a job, compare the requirements to your skills set and if you meet at least 75% of those items, go ahead and apply. Make sure you a very specific in your cover letter when describing your fit with and interest in the position.
A Flat Interview
By the time an employer invites you to interview for a position, they probably have a pretty good feeling that you have the skills, education, and experience needed to perform the daily tasks required of the job. A big part of the interview process is showing the employer that you will fit with her company culture. Sadly, when many job seekers are thrust into the nerve wracking situation that is the interview, their typically engaging personality succumbs to jitters and an intense focus on both answering the questions well and appearing composed and professional. Though strong interview responses and professionalism should not be neglected in the interview setting, fight back the urge to let them overtake your enthusiasm and spirit. Infuse your professional and thorough responses with your personality and show the employer that you will fit in well with her team. Practice common interview questions in advance with a friend or in front of a mirror.
“A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether.” – Roy H. Williams