A few careless loose ends at the end of a job search and you’ll never know why you didn’t get the job of your dreams. They are:
Inflated resume – Hiring managers get a lot of hyped-up resumes that get tossed. Be careful with words that can’t be confirmed by performance, like: Talented, exceptional, highly productive, high energy, and so on. Saying that you increased revenue by 20% on your resume, when the recruiter later finds out the revenue went from $10,000 to $12,000, doesn’t help your credibility.
Unprepared remote interviews – This is one skill for which you should be prepared. Prepare by understanding the technology, how your image can be affected by the lighting, the position of the computer and eliminating distractions. Google the names of the people with whom you’ll be interviewing so you know a bit about their backgrounds. And practice, practice, practice with a mentor or a coach.
Background Checks – Some people don’t think a company will look carefully at your past background. Think again. When a company is looking for the perfect candidate, they first need to screen out those that fudge on their dates, schools, degrees, certificates, past companies or responsibilities. If you have a problem area, either leave it out or come clean early in the process. Don’t lie or you’ll never make it to the next step.
References – If possible, don’t provide references until later in the process. Help a reference remember your most outstanding performance by giving them a list of accomplishments that parallel what the hiring company is looking for. You don’t want references to draw a blank when they get a call. Draft a script for them. 50% of references are rated poor to mediocre by hiring companies.
Inconsistent information – One of the ways to get eliminated from a job candidacy quickly is to have different information in different places: From resume, interview, Facebook, LinkedIn, social media. Surveys have found about half of all applicants have inconsistencies or worse. Crosscheck and look for holes in your resume. If you don’t, the hiring company will.
Social media gaffes – Most hiring companies check your social media. Do you know what your friends are saying about you? Be careful about inside jokes that can be misinterpreted. Scrub out your past either by eliminating questionable items or ask your friends to replace dubious information with helpful references.
You can preempt problems by preparing solutions before they surface as job killers. It’s all about how you present the information and when. If you have a “gap” in your dates, present it as a positive: “took a year for international travel, education and language emersion “, “took 6 months to care for an ailing parent”, “successfully sold time-shares after a merger to keep my sales skills sharp”.
Being unable to manage these loose ends may cost you big time. Sometimes managing these details can mean the difference. You can’t win the race until you cross the finish line.
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