Assuming all candidates are equal, it’s the finalist candidate who makes the fewest mistakes that will get a job offer. Here are some errors, plus dos and don’ts during your job search:
OBJECTIVE – If you don’t know what you want, your chances of finding the right job is diminished. Identify your goal and develop a strategy to succeed.
COVER LETTER – Too boring. Should be like an appetizer to a good meal: Short, engaging and intriguing. The hiring manager must think, “I need to learn more about this candidate”.
RESUME – Too long, with irrelevant information. Explain summer jobs if their relevant. Two pages are enough to demonstrate your measurable outcomes. Be specific about your skills and results. Generic statements don’t help you.
NOT A MATCH – Your resume will be tossed out if you don’t have at least 80% or more of the requirements for the open job. The first 5 items on the position description will tell you the key skills and experiences the organization is looking for in a candidate. Match your experiences to those key requirements and you increase your chances of obtaining an in-person interview.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW MISTAKE – You aren’t prepared for the questions you know will be asked. This interview will cover a check-list of requirements to make sure you qualify for an interview. Make sure you convey your experiences against the position description needs.
INTERVIEW ERRORS – Here are a few dos and don’ts:
- Be on time, dress professionally, turn down an offer for a drink and turn your phone off
- If you’re ignorant of key information about the company, you’re at a disadvantage
- Don’t try to dodge difficult questions. Answer honestly, based on your experiences
- Talk too much and you lose the opportunity to listen and learn. Keep all your answers concise and on-point. Don’t ramble or you’ll lose the interest of the interviewer
- If you can’t guess the questions that will be asked, you’re not prepared. You should already have the answers ready to most questions before you interview.
- Never, ever say bad things about past bosses, co-workers or companies. It shows your inability to work successfully with others, no matter what the cause or situation.
- Expect the negative question, like “How did you deal with an unhelpful co-worker?” or “What did you do when you disagreed with your boss?” Answer in a helpful way.
UNPREPARED REFERENCES – Don’t let your references be surprised by a phone call from an interested company. You should script out for your references what the job is, what experiences the hiring company is looking for, and how to match your experiences to the job.
FORGETTING TO FOLLOW-UP – You lose a chance to be remembered by not following up with a note indicating your high level of interest in the job. You can also make a point outlining an experience you might have forgotten during the interview.
Make your job search as error free as possible. Your success ratio will improve.
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