6 Dumb Things Employment Recruiters See People Do
Back in the day I used to work as a "headhunter" for companies on a national basis. It certainly was an eye-opener to discover what people will or won’t say when it comes to the hunt for a good job. It always surprised me that so-called professional people seeking six-figure incomes kept making the same juvenile mistakes over and over when looking for a new job. Personally, I always felt if these people were writing "great written communication skills" on a resume where their names were misspelled, they were not fit to be called upon for vacancies.
Whether or not you are using a recruiter for your job search, there is a good chance you are also making the same mistakes I used to see time and time again. Even now when helping family and friends update their resumes I see many common errors that could cost you a shot at a good job.
Here are six dumb things you should consider before turning in a resume if you really want that job. (See also: 8 Job-Getting Tips From a Guy Who's Hired 500 People in the Last 5 Years)
1. Just Running Spell Check and Sending Off the Resume
I often wondered if people even read what they had turned into our recruiting office. While that may sound funny, I bet many people never actually went back and read through their entire resume before attaching it to their email. As a result, there were so many stupid mistakes, but these potential candidates claimed they paid great attention to detail. Right!
While technology gives us the convenience of spell check and a built-in thesaurus, you need to rely on your brain to make sure your resume actually makes sense. As months go by, make sure you are updating your resume each time a change occurs. Lots of candidates lost out on jobs when their emails were returned to me as non-working or phone numbers had changed.
2. Not Promoting Yourself Properly
I cannot count how many times I have received a resume from an executive-level candidate that was basically a fill-in-the-blank template. It is understandable you would want to have a resource to help you draft your resume, but if you are looking at an executive position, you should be able to do more than fill in some blanks about yourself.
Your resume is a summary of your career and achievements and should work for you, not against you. Complete several drafts of your information until you are able to provide a clear, concise, and accurate summary in a professional-looking format.
3. Not Defining What You Want
As part of a resume, you have the opportunity to express your interests and job preferences in the top section usually labeled as "Objective." Simply stating that you want a paying job is just not good enough. It’s already obvious you want a job — thus the resume submission. You should be more specific about what you are looking for within the specific position being offered. If you can’t tell the hiring agent what you want to do, don’t expect many opportunities to get hired.
4. Not Reading the Job Posting
It was very frustrating to read the many resumes and cover letters that came in that had absolutely no relevance to the actual position to be filled. Whenever you submit a resume for an advertised position, be sure to craft your cover letter and gear your resume toward the actual requirements of the job. Not all jobs are the same, but if you are sending the same information over and over, don’t be surprised when you don’t get a call for an interview. Let the employer know why you would be a good fit for the position that is available. If you don’t stand out in some way, you will surely sit at the bottom of the pile.
5. Not Properly Utilizing the Cover Letter
Granted, many people do not learn the art of resume writing in high school or maybe even in college, but there are enough free resources available to give you a clear idea of what is expected when you are applying for a job using a resume. A cover letter should be attached to your resume with every submission. This cover letter can make or break your chances for getting further in the hiring process. You have a chance to capture the employer’s attention in this letter to make them want to keep reading. Cover letters should be professional looking, well written, and relevant to the job vacancy. Go online or to the library and brush up on the fundamentals of a resume cover letter.
6. Thinking Resumes Don't Matter
Jobs are already tough to come by, and every level of job is highly competitive. Don’t slack on creating a good resume for yourself even if you have to pay for assistance. If you do hire someone, play an active part in creating your resume and don’t expect your writer to just make up information that looks good on paper. Your input is vital to a truthful resume.
Don’t forget to get a list of references together prior to submitting one to a potential employer and double check with every person on that list that you have their permission to be used as a contact. There have been many occasions in my run as a recruiter where references were clueless when contacted which makes a candidate look irresponsible.
Your resume and cover letter is your first impression on a recruiter or potential employer. If you want to stay in the competition, you need to ensure you are providing the best representation of yourself to the employer so you can be successful at securing a job of your choice.