There are many ways to tweak your job search to make your results more accurate and to catch the attention of hiring influencers for desirable jobs. I often focus my advice on the positive, try this, do that…but as an Executive Career Coach and professional Resume Writer, I see so many smart, capable executives who make simple mistakes that causes them to fail a job search. These are the five that hurt to see, as they are so simple to fix:
- Resume fails. Using outdated formats. You must have a format that fits the current technology. When your resume doesn’t fit the format expected by the software (Applicant Tracking System), that software cannot read it, find the search terms, and discards it. Even a recruiter or HR professional who is searching for a candidate who has your exact qualifications won’t find you if your resume was discarded as unusable. Not sure if your format works? A professional resume writer or career coach can help you put together a resume that is scannable, searchable, and catches the eyes of the right people!
- Etiquette fails. Manners matter. Submitting a resume late, arriving late, failing to be prepared, all of these are red flags to prospective employers. If you can’t be bothered to display your manners and your best effort when you are pursuing the job, hiring influencers have to wonder how you will perform once you’ve won the position. Your job search etiquette speaks volumes about you.
- Matching fails. I’m shocked to see LinkedIn and other social media profiles which don’t match a candidate’s resume. Hiring influencers often search a candidate’s name to get a more complete picture of a prospective employee. Which one is right? Are they mistakes, or is the candidate dishonest? The employer won’t know, and hiring influencers are likely to keep looking for someone who knows their own job history and is trying to be as available as possible. The hour it takes to ensure you are presenting a cohesive personal brand is worthwhile.
- Networking fails. I’ve seen graduates from world-renowned b-schools who haven’t used their alumni directory, the college career centre, or reached out friends and colleagues in their industry. This fabulous network is at the tips of their fingers, and yet job seekers dismiss networking as awkward, or too time-consuming. Why leave a great resource for your search untouched?
- Customization fails. Each hiring influencer is searching for a candidate who is a great fit, but how can you display great fit when you don’t customize your resume and cover letter to each job you desire? There are candidates who use the same resume, elevator pitch, and interview questions for every job opening. Hiring influencers talk to many candidates, they can tell when you haven’t prepared. Do a quick internet search on the company, the position, and your interviewer if you know the name. Present a customized resume, targeted elevator pitch, and ask insightful questions that show you made the effort to learn about the interviewer and the company. Demonstrating a good fit is crucial to the hiring process, so do your homework!