Most job applicants make a few mistakes when looking for work, like forgetting to include something on a resume that might have been helpful in a job application. But some mistakes are significant enough to ensure you don’t get considered for a job, or are knocked out of contention even if you are qualified. Take care not to make these simple and easy to avoid mistakes.
1. Spelling mistakes
There’s no excuse for any job applicant to have mistakes in a cover letter or Resume. Use spell check and look for fragments and incomplete or unclear terms, not just typos. The resume and cover letter are your first and possibly only way to communicate your interest in a job, so put your best foot forward.
2. Applying more than once for the same job
Companies can tell when you’ve applied to the same job multiple times. It’s annoying, and time consuming for recruiters, so don’t do it. It won’t help them to find your job application any faster, and it won’t make it look any better. In fact, you will look worse for applying more than once. The recruiter will wonder if you are forgetful, or just being difficult.
3. Not being truthful
Always tell the truth on your resume. Your job application should be easy to follow and completely true. Be clear about dates and titles, and honest about what you actually did. If you worked on projects in Thailand, but didn’t live there, don’t say you did.
4. Leaving big gaps in time
If you leave gaps in your resume about what you were doing, the recruiter will make their own assumptions. Given the recession, they are likely to assume you were out of work. Maybe you were, and that’s OK. You must have been busy looking for a job, or back packing or volunteering. Fill in the timeline for recruiters when applying for a job so they know what you have been doing. Having other experiences can paint a picture of a well rounded person, and most companies appreciate that.
5. Being late
Never be late for a interview. Arrive at least fifteen minutes early every time. You can use that time to see how people interact with each other, what they wear to work, how the phones are answered, how they treat you and how the office looks as an outsider. You can glean a lot of information about your prospective employer if you are perceptive. Being late is the worst thing you can do because it shows you don’t care, or respect the interviewers time. They might keep you waiting, but you can’t keep them waiting. Even if there was traffic, train delays or another fiasco that delayed you, the recruiter does not want to know. Be professional and be on time.
6. Chewing gum
Never arrive to a job interview chewing gum, eating, or with a coffee in hand. It demonstrates a lack of professionalism and a nonchalant attitude to the process. They won’t take you seriously if you are chewing or eating. If you need a drink, or are dehydrated, ask for a glass of water if it isn’t offered.
7. Not turning off your phone or tablet
Always turn off your mobile device before you enter the office building where you are being interviewed. It’s embarrassing to have the phone ringing or beeping when you are interviewing. The Recruiter might have their device on, and they might even take a call, which is extremely rude, but they are in the driver seat in a job interview, so make sure you behave as you would like them to behave.
8. Interrupting the recruiter
Don’t interrupt when other people are talking. It’s rude and it shows you lack patience. The recruiter will think this is how you always are, even if it’s just nerves. Hold your tongue until a break in speech occurs, and then dazzle them with your ideas.
9. Posting compromising pictures
You might look great in a bikini or have a selfie that shows you having lots of fun, but prospective employers are looking on-line at your social media profiles and they want to see respectable people who won’t embarrass their company. Posting any pictures that show a lack of judgement will hurt your job application, but you likely won’t know it, because they probably won’t contact you after a quick scan of your social media presence. Take down anything that looks inappropriate and don’t post anything else questionable.
10. Swearing and using aggressive language
People have been fired for using inappropriate, sexist, demeaning, or other derogatory language online. Don’t do it. Keep your profile comments appropriate for a general audience both when you are a job applicant, and when you land a job. Anything that raises questions about your suitability will work against you, so keep your profile language clean and friendly.
11. Calling and emailing the recruiter over and over
Although it can be tempting to find out what is happening with your application, calling often won’t give you the result you are looking for. Most companies receive hundreds of applications for each job, and it can be daunting to address the volume, so instead of contacting each applicant, they often don’t give a reply. While this is not best practice, it is reality. If you haven’t heard from a company, the chances are they are not considering you for the role, or have, and decided not to proceed with your job application. The caveat is when you’ve been interviewed and had no reply. Then at least some effort can be made to find out what happened and why. Otherwise, don’t waste your time chasing your job application status. Move on to the next one.
12. Being rude when you don’t get a job
Even if you thought you were the best applicant for a job, if you get turned down, move on. Don’t post your experience on the internet because the next prospective employer will see it and might not call you at all.
For more ideas about what not to do as a job applicant, check out these sites:
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