How to Avoid Making 4 Resume and Interview Missteps

Posted: 11/11/15 | Category: Resume

No matter the reason for seeking a new position, more often than not, the process of job hunting is stress-inducing. As you navigate from site to site and sift through the scores of posted advertisements to find a position that entices you, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Once you have gone through the necessary steps to narrow your search to a manageable number of potential positions through the identification of keywords related to your desired title, industry of interest, salary range, employment type (full-time, part-time, contractor, seasonal/temp), you are almost ready to apply! Almost.

Before you select “Apply,” you will want to take a look at your resume to determine whether or not you are providing the most beneficial document for your search (for an article on how to get around common resume filters, click here). To increase your odds of a call back through exposure to the job market and companies, it is important you do your due diligence in creating the best and most complete resume to use to your advantage. Use these four recommendations and avoid making common missteps in your search for a new position.

First, make sure your full contact information is on the resume.

Full contact information includes name, phone number AND email address. Companies operate differently. Some prefer phone correspondence and others prefer email. To make sure you meet the most criteria and provide information conducive to the preferred method of communicaiton, include it all.

Second, while on the topic of email address, make sure it is appropriate, simple, and does not age you.

Companies are cultural entities. Each has their own idea of particular personalities and characteristics of employees that will suit their needs and goals. To appeal to the most companies and increase your odds of an in person interview, a telephone screen, or Skype interview, play it safe. Loverboyxoxo@emaildomain.com or Kevinnnnnnnn0312942@emaildomain.com might be your preferred personal email, but for job seeking purposes, keep it professional and simple. The number one recommendation is to create a new Gmail or Yahoo! Mail account to be used exclusively for your job search! Creating a new email address using one of the aforementioned sites well-worth the 5 minute setup time. Plus, it's free. 

When looking to create an email address to be used exclusively for your job search: consider something the following email addresses as templates to model after: John.Doe.Career@emaildomain.com or John_Doe_Career@emaildomain.com or John_D_Doe_Career@emaildomain.com. By using your first and last name with the addition of "Career" (or a similar term) at the end it will clarify intent as well as ensure you have a designated email address for employment correspondence, thereby reducing the odds that a pertinent email from a prospective employer gets lost in the inbox of your personal email address.

For common names, to secure a new email address you might need to include a number at the end such as 1, 2, or 7, but that is okay! Should you add 1975 or 1995 or 2015 to the end of the email address, it increases the length and could lead to erroneous assumptions about who you are, thus impacting your job search. Employers should be focused on one thing: your skills and what you have to offer the company. An unprofessional, complicated, or year-specific email address can distract potential employers, create erroneous assumptions, or cause unnecessary questioning.

Third, check your resume for accurate spelling, proper grammar, and consistent formatting.

Attention to detail is a highly-valuable and desired skill employers seek in a new employee. How your resume appears and the related content directly influences how potential employers perceive your attention to detail. When describing responsibilities for your current job (if applicable), use present tense verbs, such as: analyze, calculate, coordinate, etc. For previous jobs, use past tense verbs, such as: analyzed, calculated, coordinated, etc. For formatting, make sure you are consistent. For example, if you use bullet points, either include a period at the end of each line or do not include a period. Do not alternate between the two.

Once your resume includes all the pertinent information and is checked for consistency, you are ready to apply! The final recommendation/consideration/misstep to avoid revolves around the employer call back.

When a potential employer reaches out to you, whether answering a call or returning a voicemail, write down all information relative to company, position, area, and the like.

Information includes the name of the person with whom you are speaking, the name of the person to whom you will be meeting or speaking during the interview, and other information such as the title of the position to which you applied, address, contact information, and anything else mentioned. If you do this, you will go into your interview fully prepared and make a positive first impression with your next employer.

To summarize, consider the following example. At this moment in time, if you look at the total number of job openings posted to CareerBuilder within the last 30 days for the Philadelphia region, there are 6,586 results. That is 6,586 positions you will need to narrow down to a manageable number before even starting apply. Out of the 6,586 positions, all you need is one position within one company to make a difference in your life and livelihood. Do your due diligence to avoid common resume and interview missteps and that one employer will reach out to you sooner than you realize.

by Kendall Bolden

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