With hundreds of resumes coming in for each job opening, a hiring manager has to figure out how to weed out applicants so they have a manageable number to pursue. We have learned from hiring managers that it only takes seconds for them to reject a resume. As a job seeker, you want to avoid making mistakes that make your application easy to put on the discard pile. Let's examine some errors to avoid.
Incorrect Information on Your Cover Letter
Job seekers that apply to dozens of jobs sometimes don't pay attention to the details. The result is their cover letter may list the wrong company, wrong address, or even the wrong job title. This lack of attention to detail can result in your application being discarded. A hiring manager wants to see that you have taken the time to include the right information on all documentation. Providing the correct company, address and job title is really a small ask. Take a few minutes to double-check these details before submitting a job application so you can stay in the running.
No Online Presence or Inappropriate Material Online
A Harris poll found that 67% of employers research candidates online as part of the hiring process. They suggest that candidates can be eliminated from the running for the following reasons:
References to drug use
Spelling and grammatical errors
Unable to find a candidate on social media
Yes, you read that last one correctly. For some recruiters and hiring managers, they will eliminate a candidate if they can't find any online presence. Therefore, if you are starting your job search, consider creating a LinkedIn profile. If you already have social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc), consider cleaning them up prior to applying, so no questionable content is found.
One of the complaints we often hear from hiring managers and recruiters is that job applicants provide them a list of their responsibilities. This list is often found on the resume, cover letter and the LinkedIn profile for many job seekers. However, it doesn't give the person making the hiring decision a good picture of what the job seeker actually did in the previous roles. It shows what they were tasked with doing, but not what they accomplished. Instead of listing your responsibilities, be sure to include the actions you took and the results obtained. This will be far more compelling and much more likely to result in a request for an interview.
Spelling and Grammatical Errors
Although we have mentioned this time and time again, we would be remiss not to include it in this blog as well. We repeatedly hear from hiring managers and recruiters that overlooked spelling and grammatical errors are the fastest way a resume, cover letter or LinkedIn profile gets passed over. Proofreading is vitally important for success. You need to show strong communication skills and excellent attention to detail. If you are concerned you may overlook an error, consider a Revision Resume critique.
Don't make it easy for the hiring manager to eliminate you as a job candidate! By taking the advice above, you are more likely to end up in the call-back pile.