With the latest revolutions of modern recruitment, many job seekers are making a brand new set of mistakes. Most savvy job hunters are familiar with the age-old traps, such as making sure to use the right key words for their resume or avoiding grammar or spelling errors on the resume. However, many of the new mistakes are so insidious, you may never realize that you did them.
Are you making these fatal errors?
Not sending a resume
Okay, this probably sounds crazy. How can you apply to a job without sending a resume? This is, in fact, more common than you may believe. In particular, the biggest offender is the “Apply with LinkedIn” button that appears not only on LinkedIn, but other sites like Indeed.com as well.
The LinkedIn Challenge:
If you are applying through LinkedIn on their website, you must take the initiative to attached your resume. However, it only allows you to attach one document. If you want to include a cover letter, you need to paste it as another page in the Word document resume, save it as a new file on your computer, and then attach it.
The Indeed Challenge:
If you upload your resume to Indeed.com, it will automatically convert that pretty Word or PDF document into their own version, referred to as your “Indeed Resume.” It will only use your actual resume to populate its own fields, rather than saving the original document with its own formatting. When you apply to a job on the Indeed site, be aware that this is happening when it says “your full Indeed Resume will be submitted.”
“Optional” does not mean optional
Similar to not sending a resume, anytime that the application process lets you do an “optional” feature, you should do it. Most often, this is attaching a cover letter, however, on LinkedIn, this is actually attaching the resume itself.
If all you do is the bare minimum, you are selling yourself short. HR tends to look more favorably on people who submit a full application, which includes the optional information. When they are considering hundreds of candidates, it’s very easy to cut those who don’t put forth more effort.
Not completing the application
This is sneakier than it sounds. Of course, HR used to consider an incomplete application as a one-way trip to the circular file (that’s the trash for you younger readers.) Sites like Indeed, CareerBuilder, and Monster often give you the impression that you completed all of the requirements, however, be sure to visit the company’s actual page to #1) verify the job is real and #2) make sure they didn’t have an additional requirement for applying.
Traps of app-based job searching
Apps are great, right? It allows us to get so much more done on our mobile devices. Unfortunately, it also opens a brand new world of mistakes. Most commonly, these are:
- Spelling errors on the “quick fields” during the application process
- Incorrect punctuation, especially on capitalization
- Forgetting to attach files, such as the resume and cover letter
- Not customizing the cover letter to the company
It reminds me of a discussion in one of my LinkedIn Groups from a few years ago. A lady posted a new discussion, asking for some feedback on possible reasons why she couldn’t break into an Executive Assistant job after being and Administrative Assistant for years. Within her posting, there were several spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and incorrect capitalizations. This continued through her public responses as well as the original question. I contacted her privately and let her know that she should pay closer attention to these details, especially in a public forum. To which she replied, “well, it’s because I’m typing fast.” Moral of the story: Executive Assistants need to be fast and accurate!
Which brings us to…
Irresponsible social media activity
Everything can be found. Everything. I’m not talking about the drunken Facebook pictures or even political rants on Snapchat. The new traps relate to how you treat your past company. Complaining about your boss, ripping on a negative culture, leaving a bad review- all of this can be traced back to you, if someone really wanted it.
And of course, make sure your writing is of high quality, using proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, especially on professional sites like LinkedIn.
Not researching the company
Previously, researching a company was as simple as reading their website and tailoring your resume to fit their needs, or at the very least, addressing their services or products. Today, there is WAAAAAAY more information available to the job seeker. Even if this intel is not used during the application process, it is very helpful to search them on Google, Glassdoor.com, and other review sites. Many businesses even appear on Yelp – just a search of “Company Name + Reputation” or “+ Reviews” will give real insight.
In a world where company culture is more important than ever, there is no excuse in at least trying to find out the good, the bad, and the ugly on any potential employer.
Not reaching out to current or past employees and managers
Just like we can find out a lot about companies themselves, show some initiative to reach out to not only the managers, but employees as well. Remember, HR has been known to cut qualified applicants based on faulty applications, poor key word selection, and just plain old poor formatting. By networking into the company, you increase your chances of actually landing an interview.