Feb 18, 2017

How Not to Apply for a Job

This past week, as I have done for years, I looked closely at several applicants for positions we are trying to fill in the tech industry. All have some valid skills that may appeal to us. However, I am slightly shocked at the basic errors made by applicants. If you're looking for new work in any field, here are some thoughts.

The most obvious problems come in the resume itself. Usually, it starts with too much information. I just read a resume that lists forty different skills, about thirty more than I can process. Applicants seem to forget that few will study their resumes - we scan through them in tens of seconds. They regularly go beyond two pages, which is usually too long. The resumes are often unclear on where and when they have worked or attended college. Resumes should contain plenty of concise, concrete information that can later be expounded on, but not a lot more. A related problem is the over architected resume that is wonderful to look at but often lacking in critical information.

A major miss from applicants is their LinkedIn page, or lack of. A LinkedIn page is Step One in any modern job search. Open a free account, complete the profile and be sure to include a picture. List all education and professional jobs. Provide dates for the past ten years and account for any blanks. List organizations, interests and personal data. And while you're at it, join a couple of groups. LinkedIn walks you through this rather easy process. Finally, get 50-100 connections before you send out a single application. It's not hard to do. And then "follow" the organization you are applying to. Again, I'm amazed by applications that do not provide a LinkedIn profile, and if they do, obviously threw it together in thirty minutes.

So what to do with problems, such as a bad GPA? Try to avoid highlighting negatives but be ready for an explanation when asked. Don't lie or hide - you will only dig yourself a bigger hole. But remember that everyone has a problem with their resume and still over two hundred thousand people were hired last week.

In the end, though, don't lose sight that your resume or LinkedIn page will never get your hired. It's your skills and experience that get you a job.

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