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12 Things Job Applicants Should Stop Doing

12 Things Job Applicants Should Stop Doing

How to get noticed by employers for all the wrong reasons

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.

Cover Letter and Resume

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

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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.

Interview

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

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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.

Social Media 

9. Posting compromising pictures

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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.

Other bad things job applicants do

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

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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:  

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/jobsearchmistakes/a/how-not-to-apply-for-a-job.htm

http://govcareers.about.com/od/JobSearch/tp/10-Mistakes-That-Will-Get-Your-Job-Application-Thrown-Away.htm

http://www.workbabble.com/2011/04/8-common-job-application-mistakes.html

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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