Do you know what happens when there is a vacancy? What's everyone's fondest wish? For someone competent and capable to be in the job, of course. The manager desperately wants to hire someone. The coworkers desperately want to hire someone. The recruiter desperately wants to hire someone.
And then your resume lands in the email inbox. Guess what? Even before the recruiter opens the email she's hoping you will be the perfect candidate. The manager is hoping you'll be the right candidate. They want to hire YOU. They want to be done with the interview process and hire someone so that everyone can get to work.
So, why are you making yourself so darn unattractive to those who do hiring? I'm not talking about your weight or your facial features, I'm talking about the ridiculous things candidates do. A recruiter recently emailed me a list of her complaints. I thought I'd share:
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Recent applications I've received (always by email) include:
• Blank email with resume attached.
• Resumes called 'resume.doc' or something equally unfindable.
• Beautifully presented resumes with the accompanying email full of spelling/grammatical errors and lower case 'i's.
• No reference to the job being applied for (when there are more than one on the go, this is seriously irritating!).
• Appalling email addresses/names (again, how do I find you again?!).
• Resumes written in the third person. If you are applying directly, why aren't you using the first person?
Aagh! Don't make it difficult. Resumes should have a file name of LastnameFirstname.doc or something similar. Spell check your email. Email addresses are FREE. There is no reason not to have one with a presentable address. (I once received a job application with an email address of "bull[very bad word]firstname.lastname@example.org. That person was immediately eliminated from consideration on that criteria alone.)
I know you love your husband or wife, but email addresses of KateandSteve@emailaddress.com are just slightly weird. Am I emailing Kate or Steve? And are you two so attached at the hip that you can't have your own email address? Seriously. They are free, people. Get KateJones324@emailaddress.com and SteveJones217@emailaddress.com.
And now let's talk about the content of resumes. Make sure your resume is customized for the job. Don't add in things that are unrelated. (Yes, the fact that you're the winner of the local county fair hot dog eating contest is fascinating and slightly disgusting, and makes for great conversation around the water cooler, but it does not belong on your resume.)
Remember every single contact, whether via email, phone, or in person is part of the job hunt. Don't be rude. Assume that every unknown phone number that comes up on your caller ID is from a recruiter. If it turns out to be a telemarketer you can always hang up, but if you scream "WHAT?!?!" into the phone you might just get eliminated from consideration.
The phone screen is a real interview. The receptionist is often asked for her opinion. The recruiter will notice if you don't respond to her emails in a timely fashion. Use legible handwriting on the application. Be honest.
Recruiters and hiring managers are overwhelmed with applications. They have the luxury of rejecting people who aren't the perfect applicant. So do everything in your power to be the perfect candidate.
• Customize your resume to the position.
• Label your attachments logically.
• Treat every encounter with every person at the company as an interview.
• Always check your spelling and grammar.
• Ban text speak from your life.
• Answer your phone politely and get your family/roommates to do the same.
Remember everyone wants you to be the right candidate because they are tired of interviewing the wrong candidates. If you can be the right candidate you'll make everyone, including yourself, happy.
Suzanne Lucas is a HR veteran who blogs for BNET as 'Evil HR Lady."