By Jerry Randecker & Chris Sitter (Published in CED Magazine – 2012)
Ideally, nobody reading this article will need this information for several years. But, because of the turbulent economic times in which we find ourselves, it is quite possible that – if not you – then someone you care about, could be helped by the following tips regarding what NOT TO DO, when the time comes to look for a new job.
We see a lot of resumes here at JSA. Some of them definitely contain relevant North American dealer or manufacturer experience in the construction, mining, forestry, agricultural or material handling industry. But some are from faraway lands with experience in industries that have nothing to do with the niches we serve.
That leads us to Job Search Don’t #1: Don’t apply for positions that you are not qualified for. If you are about to submit your credentials for a specific job opportunity, take some extra moments (before submitting your resume) to carefully compare your experience, skills and education to their listed desired qualifications.
Spelling Errors makes the #2 spot for our Job Search Don’ts. This might very well be the easiest job search no-no to correct. You would be amazed how many “mangers” there at the mid to senior level in Corporate America. 10 to 20 extra minutes of proofing – could locate and eliminate these mistakes.
Open Copy E-mail blasts makes #3 on our list of Job Search Don’ts. I don’t know the names of the companies who are charging money to jobseekers for this “service”, but please be sure that if you do give anyone money to help you find a job – that they do not try to “help” you in this manner. What I am talking about is when some company sends your resume to search firm A or company B, and openly copies (lists) 20 to 50 other firms. I got one resume this summer which was sent to “Dear Recruiter” and open copied 39 other recruiters.
Generic Subject Lines chime in as Job Search Don’t #4. Think hard about your subject line. Here’s a few subject lines that recently entered my Inbox, and that will NOT help you land your dream job: “Dear executive search firm”, “Resume of John Doe”, and “Dear Sir or Madam”. Make every word in the subject line of your e-mails count, and customize the body of your message so the reader can clearly tell it’s not an e-mail blast.
Job Search Don’t #5: Don’t become a mystery candidate – identify yourself. Put your first and last name on your cover letters, e-mails, and resume (yes, we’ve actually seen resumes without a name). Hiring authorities are busy people, and you want to make processing your candidacy (and moving it to “next steps”) as easy for them as possible. Sometimes, people have an e-mail address like firstname.lastname@example.org and they sign their e-mails “Fred”. Having an easy to remember e-mail address is another way to help your hiring authority remember who you are and how to reach you.
Job Search Don’t #6: Extremely long resumes. If you’ve done much hiring, you’ve probably come across some of those 6 to 9 page resumes. It’s my personal opinion that having such a resume COULD actually be helpful for you – much LATER in the process, but to get your foot in the door, you should have a 1 or 2 page (3 page max) resume; one where the reader can easily identify your skills and education and follow the progression of your career.
Job Search Don’t #7: Don’t apply for a job that’s in a location you will not move to. Just about every hiring authority has some emotional memories of candidates who led them along, only to find out – at the offer stage – that they (or their spouse), actually won’t make the relocation. DO some soul searching and have at least a brief chat with your spouse – before you apply.
Job Search Don’t #8: Don’t link to an unprofessional or inconsistent social media page. If you have a LinkedIn profile, DO be sure that it (both photo and words) presents you in a professional light. We’ve probably all heard at least one story about a job seeker with a Facebook page that quickly submarined their job search efforts. Yikes! Perhaps that should move up to Don’t #1.
I hope it’s many, many moons – before any of you have to keep these pointers in mind. But if you do find yourself needing to consider your employment options – perhaps this little collection of Job Search Don’ts… and Do’s, will come in handy.