There are many mistakes new graduates and first time job seekers make, not because they want to but because no one ever told them not to…so here we go with some of the more common and ‘not-so-obvious’ mistakes that will most certainly ruin your interview and job search efforts.
1. Failing to follow and employer’s instructions on how to apply for the job. The instructions and process are there for a reason… So they can find out if you can read and follow instructions (Dah!) Follow them exactly as instructed.
2. Sending your resumé and / or cover letter with typos and / or bad grammar. I cannot believe I keep having to say this but it happens all the time. If you can’t get this point right, why should employers give you a chance? They won’t. Always have someone proof-read your resumé and cover letter before you send it out.
3. Sending your resumé and cover letter without customizing it to the person / company and job for which your are applying. If you don’t do this…you are not trying. This is a great opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competition. Don’t miss it.
4. Leaving time gaps in your resumé without explanation. This practise only raises questions the employer cannot answer and you will not be there to defend or explain the gaps. Don’t leave any gaps or at least provide an explanation (right up front) in your cover letter.
5. Showing up at an employer’s place of business unannounced. Without an invitation (Interview) or permission, expecting an interview and the chance to meet with someone is a bad strategy. If you want to start off with a bad ‘first impression’ this is a good way to do it. Some people will think this approach shows confidence and initiative but the risk is not worth the reward.
6. Telling the employer all the things that you did. Employers want to know what you can do for them so they are only interested in what you know or have learned in your education, part-time or summer jobs, Don’t waste valuable space on your resumé writing about all the things you did. Just because you ‘did’ something doesn’t mean you learned from it of mastered the skill. Write about your accomplishments.
7. Not knowing anything about the company or job you are applying to. If you don’t know anything about the job or company…why are you there? Nothing is worst than a candidate not making an effort to know something (anything) about the company before the interview. Once the interviewer realizes this, the interview is over. If you want to work there, do some research before the interview.
8. Not having any questions about the job or company in the interview. During the interview, the interviewer will always ask you: “Do you have any questions?” If you don’t, consider the interview over and you won’t be coming back. You must show interest in the job and company if you are to be considered for the job and the best way to do this is to have some intelligent questions to ask the interviewer. If you arrive at the interview without this preparation you are really wasting everyone’s time and mostly yours.
9. Not telling the interviewer at the end of the interview, you want the job. Even if you realize the job may not be right for you, until they offer it to you, you don’t have to say no. Your objective in the interview should be to position yourself as a good candidate. The interviewer might decide you are not right for this one but could be perfect for another position within the company. Always leave the interview showing an interest in the job and the company. What is the downside? None!
10. Not following up after the interview. This sounds so basic but most people do not take the time for a simple ‘Thank you’ follow up after the interview. If you don’t do this…what might the interviewer think? Correct! They might think you are not interested in the job and knock you off the list.