Interviewing can be a painful process for both sides of the hiring process. I’m wrapping up the latest hiring round and after 300 applicants, here are some major red flags that many experienced people made in the resume submission phase.
- Job History – Using the year, versus month and year range. This is a red flag right out of the gate. If there is a gap, I’d rather see it. Always use 8/12 to 10/15 rather than 2012 to 2015.
- Spelling and Grammar – There are so many tools for this, remember this is your best foot forward. Triple check, send your resume to your friends and enemies and make sure it’s perfect. One of my recent applicants had about 80% of his resume in lower case. I love creativity, but unless you have the skills to pull off something super creative, use proper business writing.
- Cover Letter or Intro Email – Everyone seems to think that robots look at resumes which eliminates the need for showing your personal side. Well I’m here to tell you that’s just not accurate for loads of companies. Show that you’ve researched the position and articulate why you’re the right fit, even if you don’t have the proper background for it. It’s rare that anyone has a perfect background for a job, so going this extra step will go a long ways. Blindly sending over your resume with no intro whatsoever, is a great way of getting it sent to the “do not call” file.
- Generic Data Needs Back Up – Everyone has increased sales by 1000%, made the office 300% more efficient, and is a team player. These stats are great, but don’t set you apart. You can set yourself apart by briefly describing how you did this. The how is 999% of the value in how you created a 1000% increase.
- Job Descriptions – Be sure to read them thoroughly. In our latest job post, at the bottom I noted my name and asked that if you apply, please tell me why you are relevant for the job. Out of over 300 people, only 5 did this. 1.6%. I responded to all 5 of them. Simply doing this beat out the other 98.4% of applicants.
- Resume naming – This one is always entertaining. Put your name on it, save it as a pdf, you’re good. I’ve seen so many resume names, “Todd’s generic resume”, “Timetoparty”, “Having another persons name”, or “Josh’s Resume for Intel” when applying to a different company. Don’t over complicate this one.
- Follow Up – So you didn’t hear back but you’re a great fit. Awesome, send a second email or call to follow up. Resumes come flying in by the “robot” senders who fling out their info to everyone on the planet so it’s easy to get lost in an inbox. To give you an idea of applicant info, day 1 of a job post we may get 100+ resumes, day 2 likely 30, day 3 and on only a handful. Follow up 3 to 7 days in and you may get a surprise call back. I’m constantly amazed at how everyone must think that once the job post is a few days old it’s not worth applying.
- Write professionally – In closing this is #1. I’ve scrapped so many applicants simply because their email writing was horrific. When you receive an email back asking for more info, don’t rush it. Don’t send from your phone. Instead get in front of your computer and make sure it’s flawless. My most entertaining from a couple weeks ago was in a mix of low caps and no punctuation and he noted that “XXX told me to send this to you”. So first you don’t know how to write, second it sounds like you were forced to apply? Sorry, not a good fit. Even funnier, since this was a referral I gave him a second chance by asking why the email was so poorly formatted and he said he was busy and wrote it on his phone. Also that if I didn’t give him a chance, just because of his writing, I’m making a big mistake. Yeah sorry, I think not.
It’s interview time and you’ve nailed the first phase, so good job! Now watch out for these 9 mistakes, my tip listed below, the rest on themuse.com.
You Don’t Ask Questions – I’ve always been surprised when candidates don’t ask any questions in an interview. This shows they either don’t know anything about the company or job, lack motivation, or just assume they’re qualified. In today’s fast-paced and multitasking job environment, curiosity, and creativity from every level is very important. Study the job description, website, research the staff and company history, and come in with a list of questions. This alone will put you in the top 1%, if not .1%.