Tiny tips when applying for jobs

Friday, February 5th, 2010 at 17:38

Garion Hall from G Media, has some small tips for people applying for jobs.

When you apply for a job at a company, you enter into a social contract with them. You spend time submitting your resume to them expecting them to read it, and they spend time reading it in the hope that you’re the right person for the role. Don’t risk breaking a social contract (like a neighbor that mows their lawn at 7am Sunday morning).

As a dynamic small business, as we grow, G Media regularly has to recruit new staff. Job sites like www.seek.com.au make life easy in many ways, so easy in fact, you can miss out some important things that really affect your chances of getting a call back (especially for roles that require a skill-set that many people have – as an employer, you just have to start looking for ways to make a short list).

Here are seven things people do when applying for jobs that a little planning would eliminate. Remember, most employers on job sites get more than 100 applicants for every role, so don’t risk landing at the bottom of the pile.

7. Blank pages

It’s a little thing, but when printing a bunch of resumes, it shows a lack of attention to detail and presentation if your resume or cover letter has several blank pages at the end of it.

6. Listing your mobile phone number

Another little thing. We all have to dial phone numbers all the time. Put some spaces in there to make it easy! A number like this is just annoying:

0412394848

Instead, use the commonly accepted layout:

0412 394 848

Why make it hard for people to contact you? Make it easier!

5. Page numbers

With more than 100 applicants, there is sure to be a bunch of printing of resumes involved. Like any manager, you batch things where possible. So, we print 10 resumes, and none of them have page numbers. You can see how this is annoying, right? 10 ~8 page resumes results in 80 pages that have to be sorted through just to staple the resumes, let alone start calling people.

4. Spelling mistakes

Your cover letter and resume is your ONLY CHANCE to put your best foot forward, and present yourself in the best possible light. Most jobs require some level of attention to detail. Spelling mistakes in your resume – something that is supposed to make you look amazing – make you look like you don’t care. I ask myself, if this person cannot spell stuff right in their own resume, why would they bother spelling stuff right when they are emailing my customers? (for the uninitiated, spelling mistakes in an important email to a customer may make the customer feel the company does not care enough about them to spell correctly, potentially losing that customer).

3. Getting our name wrong

C’mon. Just because it’s easy to send the same cover letter to 100 different companies doesn’t mean you should. Either make it generic and don’t mention a company name, or double check you’re sending the right cover letter. This goes to the attention thing again – no one want s to employ someone who shows inattention to important things!

2. Basic design skills

There are a million resume templates out there, and many of them are excellent. Creating your own – unless you’re a designer – is a risk. Standing out is important, and making us laugh might help us remember you, but not if it’s a laugh of pity or disgust.

1. A cover letter that is the resume in sentence form

The most annoying thing about the application process? A one-page (or worse, two page!) cover letter that puts everything in the resume, in sentences’. It’s a boring, difficult read, that makes you look like you’re trying to trick me or something. Use the cover letter to respond to the ad we placed – even one sentence addressing a point in our ad sends the message you’re paying attention, and that alone makes you stand out from a sea of mediocrity.

Garion Hall is the CEO of a media production company founded in the year 2000 in Melbourne.

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