Don’t Be a Casualty of These Job Application & Resume Slipups
It’s a common scenario for the job seeker: They hear about the perfect job opening, but when they apply, their application seems to disappear into the ether.
If this sounds like your job search routine, you could be falling into one of the lesser-known job application traps. You do the basics – you proofread, you check your formatting – but you haven’t taken a hard look why your application goes from being a “maybe” to a “not going to happen”.
If you’re crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s to no avail, try cross-checking your process against these five job application ambushes before you press send on another plea for the perfect position that goes unheard.
1. You Overdid the Jargon.
Skills and duties jargon might have been all the rage on resumes a few decades ago, but today employers see through the doublespeak. Being “innovative” and a “multi-tasker” can prompt major yawns unless you can back it up with real action. Did you implement a new customer service tracking system that increased efficiency by 30%? Did you regularly manage interns while keeping an eye on daily duties? Go on a hunt for those empty adjectives on your resume – and replace them with real life accomplishments that will keep your name on the short list.
2. You Lied.
You exaggerated your job title. You fudged your several months of unemployment. You saw a void in your “Accomplishments” column and you, uh, filled it. Trouble is, background checks are simple, references are forthcoming, and if one detail doesn’t stand up, your application will go in the circular file fast – no opportunities to explain and no second chances. Lying on your job application can ruin your chances faster than you can say “unemployment”, so if you didn’t get that degree, say so. Your qualifications may lag behind other candidates, but your honesty will keep you in the running.
3. You Didn’t Include a Cover Letter.
Even if you are applying for a job via email, don’t just attach a resume with the requisite sentence or two. A good cover letter is essential. It’s also an opportunity to make the business of job hunting personal by telling your potential employer why you’re applying and what makes you the right person for the job. Point up what’s particularly desirable about you, and make sure you mention specifics about the job and the company you are applying for so it’s clear the letter was written with that job in mind. Try these cover letter tips to help you create an attention-grabbing cover letter.
4. You Cut Corners.
It’s tempting: You’re faced with a long application, either on paper or online, with plenty of blank spaces asking for past employers, education, and screening information, and you leave it blank, or say “see attached”. Duplicating efforts you’ve already made on your resume may seem unnecessary, but if employers request an application, they are probably using it to screen for basic information. So, put in the time, and leave no space unfilled (if it doesn’t apply, indicate as much with an “n/a”) and your employer will know you’re willing to do due diligence – on the application and on the job.
5. You Disappeared.
The interview’s over, the application is submitted – you’ve done your part. Right? Not by a long shot. First, many a hire has been made by a mere nudge – a follow up call, or a reminder that you’re serious about the job or available to come in for an interview. One contact just isn’t enough when application piles are as tall as a Coast Redwood. Second, if you’ve already had an interview, don’t vanish into thin air – your job prospects will vanish too. Send a thank you note (email is usually fine) before you even consider following up with a call, or you’ll end up as in the slush pile as just another felled tree. Get the basics on writing a thank you note following a job interview.
Visit Bonney’s Support Center for advice about Powerful Resumes, Interview Tips and being a strong job applicant. Or, put a staffing agency to work for you! Bonney can help you put your best foot forward in a job you are suited for.