Saturday, January 29, 2011

Why Waste Time? What Not To Do When Sending In Your Resume

After employers have placed a job ad, they might have to go through hundreds of resumes to sort out which candidates they would like to interview. Why not give yourself a fighting chance by avoiding these pitfalls?

Not Qualified for the Job:
Why apply for a job that you are not qualified for? You shouldn't apply for a job when you do not have the essential skills being sought. Of course, if you have the skills, and are just shy some experience, you can certainly try. But if they are looking for someone with 5 years experience, and you only have 2 year's worth, you will likely not get the job. And that's wasting an employer's time.

Not Sure?
One of the biggest time wasters is people that apply for jobs they aren't sure they really want. When you apply for a job, whether through an employment agency, or through an employer directly, make sure you would be ready to take the job should it be offered to you. If you aren't, if you haven't talked to your family about it, or you aren't sure you're ready to leave your present employer, don't wait and see if they call you before deciding if you want the job. Of course, it's okay to change your mind later, but if you aren't sure in the first place, why waste their time?

You might not see it as lying, but essentially, it isn't too far off. Saying you are qualified at a certain aspect of the job requirement when you clearly aren't is a waste of time. We once had someone apply to us for a job that required French language skills who couldn't speak a word of French, despite his resume implying he could. Obviously on essential skills, you will likely get tested or evaluated somehow. Exaggerating to get a job is definitely NOT the way to go.

Confusing Resume:
Nothing slows down an employer like having to figure out what the heck your previous job was, and reading through a 10 page resume. Some job titles aren't really clear, so make sure you explain what the major duties and requirements were of your past jobs, that way employers know what skills you have and what sort of work you can do. Your resume should be succinct and to the point. It should not exceed two pages at the most. Avoid wordy paragraphs about your life goals. Your resume should tell the employer what you skills are and really, be a walking endorsement of your abilities, confidence, and previous experience.
Make sure there aren't any typos or spelling mistakes. Some common ones are "alot", "seperately", and "definately". Check with a dictionary if you aren't sure of a word before submitting your resume. If they hire you, you will be a reflection of the company and they will be looking for someone who presents an accurate, professional, and careful representative.

Applying Incorrectly:
If an employer looking for email resumes says they don't want you to include an attachment but would rather see your resume in the body of an email message, why wouldn't you do that? Many companies won't open attachments for security reasons and when you are not following instructions on how to apply for a job, you are telling employers you don't care. It shows a lack of respect and an inability to listen to directions, two things employers are certainly not looking for. Take the time to find out how employers want you to apply for a position. Then follow the instructions. If your resume isn't properly formatted for an email message, do up a plain text version of your resume so that, you'll have it for those employers not wanting a Word version. If you can't follow simple application instructions, how will you be able to do the job?

Not following instructions, applying for a job you aren't qualified for, and having an unprofessional resume are all ways to indicate to an employer that you aren't really serious about applying for a job. Why not increase your chances of being hired by making sure you don't waste their time or yours? 

By Sara


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  3. Finally got this one right. Maybe...

    I have to disagree with a couple points. First, the five years vs. three years vs. some-other-number of years. Ever notice that ads say either five or two or three or ten years? Never four or seven or nine. Clearly, landing on a "convenient" number indicates flexibility. What, a company is going to trash my resume 'cause I have nine and a half instead of ten years experience? Also, maybe I get more experience in two years than someone else does in five. Do you REALLY want to work for a company THAT inflexible?

    Next, embellishments. I got my first job ONLY by saying I could do the thing they wanted - even when I couldn't. The key here is: I knew I could learn it before I needed to do it. Which I did. Honestly [pun intended], had I been forthright and said, "No, but I can learn it in time," they would likely have passed me over.

    And finally, if you need a job and can do it and it pays well enough for you, I would suggest you pull out all the stops to get it. Just because a company makes an offer doesn't mean you NEED to accept it if you've taken their and YOUR time to apply and interview. Keep in mind, a company is out for themselves when they're recruiting, not you. So YOU need to be out for YOU. I appreciate the desire for courtesy, but it's not a level playing field. It never has been. Companies hold the high ground 'cause they have what you want and/or need. But the truth is, most job ads are constructed so that literally no one could possibly meet ALL the qualifications. As well, a rather disturbing number of HR people really have no idea what they're doing. But of course, you never know that.

    I DO AGREE about de-confusing resumes as well as supplying what and how the prospective employer requests. Doing that shows at the minimum that you can read and follow instructions and you're not likely to be a high-maintenance employee.

  4. I disagree with most of Hank's comments. The info above is all simple stuff that one would assume everyone would "know" yet everyday resumes come in unsolicited, with poor grammar, spelling errors and obviously less-than-qualified history renditions. Posers are NOT appreciated for their moxy because its a time and money waster for the potential employer.

  5. I think the difference between Hank (go for it!) and Sara's (don't wate their time) perspectives on this matter lies in the possibility of an alternate opportunity at the particluar company.
    If there is one and only one job opportunity there, I might be compelled to follow some of hank's points. In the more likely scenario that this is one job opportunity, but I feel there may be several others at the same company, then I want to reign in and follow Sara's points. I've interviewed plenty of people that weren't a good fit for the job I had to offer, but I let HR know if I felt the person was of good character and might be a fit in some other department.