While it is quite common knowledge that first impressions are the most important (especially during a job hunt) many applicants fail to understand that the most obvious trip-ups in this regard are the small mistakes made in an application or interview. And while many of the following small steps can be considered “obvious,” more applicants make at least one of these mistakes than not.
- While a minor typo may seem acceptable (or even expected) by job seekers creating their resume, a single typo can potentially be enough to remove you from the job race. In a competition between two similarly qualified individuals, the one with the flawless resume will win. A typo-free resume also shows an attention to detail that any employer wants in an employee. Don’t just write your resume and send out the first draft in the name of expediency. Use a spell checker, proofread the document multiple times, and allow others to examine it for errors.
- As with typos, many job hunters feel that adding a little resume padding is a perfectly acceptable tactic. After all, it’s not as if you are actually lying, right? The truth of the matter is even a small deception, if discovered, can immediately disqualify your application from further consideration. And with about 97 percent of employers running background and reference checks as part of the hiring process, exaggeration and embellishment can lead to a serious mark on your perceived integrity. Look what happened to Yahoo’s CEO recently!
- While interviews are perhaps the most nerve-wracking part of the application process and it is normal to practice your performance beforehand, it can actually be damaging to your cause to appear as though you are reading from a script. Employers are looking for a glimpse of the person they will see each day at work, not to be presented with an over-rehearsed collection of canned responses. While you do want to emphasize your abilities and value to a company’s bottom line, it is equally important to demonstrate the traits of our personality that make you a great person to work with.
- In an interview situation, what you say is important, but so is how you say it. Demonstrating your adeptness at speaking rote and robotic responses, or showing off all of your nervous ticks is not the best way to engage a hiring manager. Instead, prepare to exude confidence, smile, stand up straight, and look everyone you meet in the eye. Don’t make the mistake of undervaluing the role of peers and subordinates in the decision making process – be friendly and engaging to everyone!
- Finding the perfect professional references can play a prominent role in landing you a job offer, but simply identifying your references on a resume is only part of the job. Your references need to be periodically updated about the jobs for which you are applying so that they can prepare to portray you in the best light within the context of specific responsibilities. Keep them informed of resume changes and make sure they understand how your skills will help you in your new job. The more your references know about you the more helpful they can be to you as contacts.