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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 January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

More About Boosting Productivity

Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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