I think many of you that hire staff can relate; many people will be like, “I’m totally guilty”, and some will learn something new without doing it the hard way!
1.) The Ghost Email
So you find the perfect job. You spend hours writing that perfect resume and cover letter. You attached the documents to an email, and send off to the employer…..with the body of the email BLANK!
Not a “Hi” or a “Thanks” or even copying the cover letter into the body of the document. Just…..a blank email!
The first issue with this is that the majority of individuals involved in the hiring process use smartphones to receive emails, especially with the workforce being as mobile as it is!
When these blank emails are opened on a smartphone device, the likelihood of the attachments being opened increases. I personally delete them and move on to the next.
Second issue with blank emails is computer security and email-spread viruses.
There are many online hackers who dig through job banks, get contact information and then email document attachments with blank emails. If an employer is worried or has been burned by this in the past, they would definitely not open the attachment due to fear that your attachment is malicious.
Third is…provide a little effort people!
To me someone that can’t even take the time to copy a cover letter into an email really is not someone I would want on my team. Your due diligence from start to finish really demonstrates the type of person you are and your work ethic if hired.
So stop doing this. It doesn’t take much more time to add a message to a body of an email and it increases the way others engage with your application information.
2.) No Cover Letter
This one aligns with the ghost email abusers. Cover letters are an integral part of the job search. It gives personality to a resume that may otherwise not stand out.
I have had many applicants say to me “I don’t know how to write a cover letter” or “It took too much time to create one for a specific job application.”
Here’s a scoop: the internet is a remarkable resource. If you do not know how to write a cover letter, there is this awesome tool called “Google” and when you type in the search bar “cover letter examples”, you will find a large variety or tricks, tips and examples of ways to make your cover letter more effective and better overall .
There are also many learning sites that allow you to gain information on this topic. Examples are: Itunes University (free no cost for iTunes users) or Udemy (paid & free courses). There is no excuse for not having success on this one; if you want to learn there are many ways to make it happen.
So stop saying “I don’t know how” or “I was never taught” and change those behaviors to “I will learn and research how to learn”
With anything in life, you need to practice in order to master an art! Writing a cover letter is no different. So try writing one, ask for feedback from mentors or work colleagues, and keep practicing until you get a format worth using on your job search.
3.) The Resume
Oh the resume….this subject has so many challenges to address, and here is my take.
Grammar, Punctuation and Fonts
There is nothing worse than a resume with poor spelling. With the availability of automatic spell check (even if you can’t spell), there is no excuse for your resume to have spelling errors. Read it…a couple of times…have a friend read it, and of course, run a spell check before blasting it out to perspective employers. Use one font, not 40 different ones. Use bullets or hyphens, not both in the same document.
These typical errors convey a message…that you have no attention to detail, and that this would spill over into your work if selected as the right applicant for the organization. Sounds like something stupid to worry about, but taking action to ensure perfection go a long way with perspective employers. As a business owner, these are things that I personally look at when going through resumes coming into our office.
Stop Sending Long-winded Resumes
Unless you are a neurosurgeon or someone with some pretty extensive university degree(s), applying for a career position, employers do not need a novel to understand what you have done before. This type of resume deters me from reading it all together. You need to keep some things to the interview, and detailing every task you’ve ever done in every job you’ve ever had for your entire lifetime is not only ineffective, but think of how many trees you are killing printing that beast of a document.
We are busy individuals, and have many of these documents to review when looking at hiring someone for a position, so keep it to 3 pages max.
Resume and Cover Letter Content
Your resume content should contain professional interests, not personal ones. That’s awesome that you love extreme sports, that you hate all your old managers, and that you want to move out of your mom’s house but what is that telling your potential employer?
What I want to see is your awards and achievements (work and education), what professional books you have read, what other courses you have completed (organization provided, or personal choice education), and where you volunteer your time giving back to the community.
4.) The Follow Up
This one is near and dear to my heart, the follow up. Over the course of the year I have had 240 applications and only 2 of those applicants followed up by email or phone.
Only 1% of the applicants took the initiative to follow up. What’s worse for me is this is for a sales position which should see a higher return of individuals inquiring about the role.
When I was a teenager, my grandmother used to always preach that the day after the application is submitted a follow up should happen by phone to ensure the employer received the application and to ask if an interview can be scheduled. She was right, and this was coming from a woman who for the majority of her life worked on our family farm, and not in a typical career position.
Think of it this way, you find the job of your dreams; you want it so bad you can taste it. So do hundreds of others that have less, the same or better qualifications than you. Let’s say 50 of these applicants are guilty of the above mistakes, so it’s you and 50 others. Typically these 50 will be sorted from the best possible candidates to the worst based on qualifications.
Ask yourself: What sets me apart from the other applicants? How do I stand out from the pack?
The answer is simple! Follow up to express your interest. Something so simple but is often overlooked, and by my calculations…..99% of you are missing the mark.
When you follow up, a wonderful chain of events happens:
- We get to hear the personality behind that application and form a rapport (phone calls only)
- We see initiative in the person taking a risk to go beyond their comfort zone, and this shows us a trait that we want all employees to encompass.
- We take your resume out of the stack, and actually notice the words, the format and what your qualifications are.
- Either you will get the opportunity to interview, and if not you will learn what this organization’s hiring process is (very valuable information).
If you aren’t employing this tactic in your job application game, you had better add it immediately! How many of the 1% I spoke about are snatching up your dream career?
5.) Social Media
My last, but definitely not least important topic is your presence on social media.
I am not kidding when I tell you that most likely, you are going to be automatically searched for on a variety of social media platforms. Not just Facebook…Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google +…I think you get the point.
If on the weekends, you like to crush beer cans on your head and then get a selfie while vomiting in a back alley, or take videos of yourself while doing a petty crime on a University Campus, you had better lock down your social platforms privacy settings or better yet, don’t post these things online. This seems like a no brainer, but surprisingly it still puts potential candidates out of the running. Of those 240 applicants I experienced, 25% of them had items posted publicly that in turn changed my opinion of them right away. Whether you agree with this practice or not, it’s what employers do, and something personally and professionally you need to think about!
Don’t let that “Post” button, hinder future opportunities that may cross your path later in life.
For assistance with your cover letter and/or resume contact http://www.redappleadmin.ca for a free consultation.