Feb 2, 2017 2:43:54 PM / by Cassandra Czech & Karen Relucio
Job hunting is a long process that can be frustrating, especially when you find yourself getting tripped up by an avoidable mistake. Nothing is more aggravating than painstakingly going through a long and tedious application process, only to realize afterwards that your resume contains a glaring typo. When you finally find the job you think you’ll love, you don’t want to blow it by making a small (or not-so-small) error. If you’re preparing to job search, take heart, and use this list of job application tips to get you that interview:
- Not proofreading your resume
You’ve heard it before and it sounds easily avoidable, but there’s a reason this mistake is always on top of the list: a Career Builder survey estimated 58% of resumes contain typos. So how do you avoid this when you’ve been staring at your resume for the past hour and the words are starting to blur together? Try a few of these tips:
- Read it out loud slowly. Not only will this help you catch typos but it will also help you see if the information in your resume flows well.
- Work your way backward – start from the last bullet point and work your way up to the beginning. This tricks your mind into not anticipating what’s coming next, making it more likely that you will notice errors.
- If time allows, take a break and come back with fresh eyes. Even if it is only 15 minutes, a break can give you a new perspective.
- If you have been working on your computer, consider printing a copy and review it that way. Your eyes will feel less tired than reading it on paper than on a screen, and you can write notes.
- Ask your colleagues, friends, or family members to proofread your resume before you submit your application. They can give you a fresh perspective and let you know if something sounds off.
Finally, don’t forget to look for more than spelling errors. Incorrectly used words (“your” and “you’re”, anyone?) and spacing errors are two of the most common offenders that can easily be overlooked.
- Not tailoring your resume
Every position is different, so don’t try to save time by submitting the same resume and cover letter to each position you apply for. Not only will doing so decrease your chances of being considered by the applicant tracking system, but the lack of appropriate details will show to whoever reviews your submittal. Instead, think about your best qualifications related the position you are applying for and craft your resume and cover letter based around your experience and the job description. If you were a recruiter, wouldn’t you want to hire someone who took the time to fit their current skills with the open position? Remember, on average, every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes. Be creative and try to stand out, but at the same time, ensure that the skills you have on your resume are relevant to the open position.
- Not focusing on the job
Don’t make the mistake of applying for a position based solely on the job title. You may be surprised how the responsibilities of some roles differ across organizations. Make sure you read and understand the job descriptions that you are applying for and that you are actually qualified for the role. Focus on the jobs with responsibilities that fit your skills. When conducting your job search, try searching based on your skills not just job titles. Be aware that sometimes job titles limit your search and can mean less than you think.
- Not preparing yourself
Prepare, prepare, and prepare some more. As soon as you begin your job-hunting process, research the job market, compensation, and industry that you’re interested in. Another critical step is to conduct company research. Know the company’s mission and think about how it aligns with your objectives, and be prepared to state ways you can help the company meet their goals. See what you can find out about the company culture. Maybe you have a LinkedIn connection or an old friend who worked at the organization? Connect with her and see what she has to say about her experience.
When you are invited for an interview, make sure to practice your interview answers– out loud. While this may seem strange at first, it will make a huge difference in increasing your level of preparedness and can help you feel less nervous during the actual interview. Consider filming yourself to help you identify trouble areas or ask a friend or a family member to conduct a practice interview with you. As you answer, be sure to avoid filler words, such as “um,” “you know,” and “like”.
- Not using your network
Don’t rely solely on the internet or job postings. Be proactive and network with other professionals around you, especially those involved in your areas of interest. While it may be tempting to focus on networking up, remember that networking across can be just as important. As a young professional, networking may help you find out in advance about open jobs, or gain valuable insight on what companies are worth pursuing from people who have actually worked there. By including your contacts as one of your job search resources, you can gain a competitive edge and take your job search to the next level. Should the time come, don’t forget to return the favor to your connections in the future.
- Not cleaning your social media
Be aware of your social media footprint. Remember that recruiters and hiring managers can see what you post too, meaning social media can either help or hurt your job search – especially when you consider, that the use of social media for recruitment has grown 54% in the past 5 years. Keep in mind that what you post on social media stays on the internet for a long time. When you can, clean up old (or recent) posts that contain anything questionable. Avoid unsavory photos, controversial comments, bad-mouthing old employers, or anything else you wouldn’t want an employer to see.
However, don’t think that going silent on social media is the way to go either. A lack of social media presence can be concerning to employers as well. In fact, 40% of hiring managers are less likely to interview a candidate if they can’t find anything about them online. So keep your Facebook account and use it to showcase your interests and pastimes.
Remember, a job hunt entails much more than hitting submit on an online job application. By following these 6 steps during your job search, you will set yourself up to make a great impression with hiring managers and land that job interview. Unsure of what to do next once you are invited to interview? Check out our free eBook The Road to Success: A Guide to Preparing for Interview Excellence. This guide covers every aspect of the interview process, from preparation to follow-up, and is a great tool to utilize during the next stage of your job search.