As listed in “Ten common mistakes in job applications (Part 1)“, even though some common mistakes can be as small as a typo in your resume, the common mistakes are a huge hurdle between you and your dream job. Other common mistakes to avoid when preparing for a job application:
- Dream, within reason: Do not send your resume for jobs way out of your range, you will not be believed when you apply for something perfect. You can move into increasingly senior positions – I spend all day every day helping job seekers do exactly that – be aware of trying to skip too many steps up the ladder or you might become the boy who cried wolf.
- Know your weaknesses: I am always willing to consider imperfect candidates. No candidate ever has everything the search committee wants. I am never inclined to consider applicants who are imperfect but genuinely believe that they are perfect. If you are missing a key skill or some years of experience, own your weakness, but then describe how your other skills and experiences will help you compensate or catch up quickly.
- Curiosity is key: Nothing saddens me more than a candidate who seems ideal at first, but then asks me no questions about the organization I am representing. If they are not curious about the position or the group, then I begin to second-guess whether they are really the right fit. Once a hiring manager’s excitement is dampened, this excitement is hard to get back. Note: questions based on the salary or benefits do not count.
- Thank you notes: Call me old fashioned, call me a prig. I like thank-you notes. Thank you letters are the perfect opportunity to remind your interviewer why you should be hired, or for you to insert into the equation a key fact that you forgot to mention when you met. These letters are so uncommon, sadly, that candidates who thank me for spending time with them stand out in my mind. I become more attached to them, I campaign for them more vigorously, and they get hired more often.
- Get a second opinion: Send your résumé to a friend, a colleague, a mentor or a résumé professional who can give you an outside perspective. Often, job seekers think that they have been exceptionally clear about their proudest career moments. But their résumé is unclear to anyone who was not sharing the same conference room during your proudest moment. An outside pair of eyes will shed light on your résumés’ strengths, weaknesses and help your materials shine.
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