simple mistakes make a big difference

Mistakes to Avoid

The move from job seeker to successful candidate requires information and effort. A vital step in securing your ‘perfect job’ involves keeping your resume out of the initial screening’s ‘No’ pile.

Sometimes, simple mistakes make all the difference. Ensure that you do not make any of the following common mistakes.

Fail to follow directions about how to apply

By following the requested application method, you label yourself as a cooperative person who can follow directions. Also, consider the possibility that all applications via email, as an example, are being mapped directly into a recruiting folder. Other applications may be missed completely.

Send resumes or cover letters with typos

Typos create an instant negative perception and brand you as a careless person who did not take the time to proofread your resume and cover letter. You will be judged by the quality of the documents that introduce you. Many organisations use typos as a screen to eliminate candidates from contention.

Fail to send a customised cover letter with the resume

A customised cover letter does not mean changing the lead paragraph to mention the employer’s company name or reference number. It means drawing attention, point by point, to how well your credentials match the position stated. A generic introduction is already available via your resume. Use the cover letter as your place to shine. Demonstrate what is important to you – and to the employer. Mention why you believe your skills are well matched to the position and you will likely get a call for an interview.

Be unclear about your salary expectations

Many candidates are confident that once an employer sees their credentials and meets them, salary will not be an issue. They believe their credentials will dazzle the employer. Remember, though, that the employer has a budget. When you fail to submit your salary as requested, your resume will likely be rejected. At the best, you will cause a time-wasting screening phone call. Always respect a potential employer’s time.

Leave large gaps in your employment unexplained

If the first scan of a resume reveals gaps in your employment history, you will always be asked why. You took three years off to raise your child? Mention this up-front in the cover letter. Otherwise, you risk rejection of your application. You also risk creating the impression that you have trouble finding a job. You may appear undependable or, at worst, a mystery.

Apply for jobs for which you are over or underqualified

The skills and experiences required for the position have been described. A job description and a salary range exist. If you are too over or underqualified, your application is suspect and is filed under ‘No’. It does not take long to see a mismatch of the skills and knowledge requested for the profile outlined. Do not waste your time.

Exhibit problems with grammar and sentence construction

Your image is you. Applications that demonstrate you are challenged to produce a complete sentence will not serve you well. Grammatical errors are noticed and telegraph negative messages: you are unable to write very well; you lack attention to detail; and your ability to interact with customers is limited by your skills. Are these the messages you are trying to send to your potential employer? Remember, when the employer stumbles over mistakes, they rule you out.