QUESTION: What is one of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make?
ANSWER: Not following the application procedures exactly the way a particular company requests.
Here are a few reasons why it is so important to stick with a company’s designated application procedures:
1. Fear of lawsuits. Most companies have strict application procedures to protect themselves from lawsuits from disgruntled applicants. So, if an employer asks you to email your resume as a “text file”, but instead, you choose to send them a regular resume on fancy paper through the mail, it will probably end up in their trash! Many companies will do this with unsolicited resumes, too. So check the company website, or job announcement carefully.
2. Recruiters have deadlines. Sure, you might be an awesome candidate for a particular job. But, if you don’t submit your application properly, recruiters can’t use you! Even if you were asked to apply for a particular job, recruiters can’t wait forever for you to get it right.
3. Your ability to do the job will be questioned. Applicants who fail to follow simple directions, like how to apply for a job, will discover that employers will question whether or not they have the ability to actually handle bigger things, like the responsibilities of the job.
4. Your desire to do the job will be questioned. If 100 people applied for a job via the correct procedures, and five people “think” they’ve applied for a job because they submitted a resume some other way, who do you think looks most interested in competing for the job? Furthermore, why should a recruiter “hand-hold” the five candidates who didn’t follow their instructions, when they had 100 people who cared enough to do it right the first time?
5. You look careless. Even if a recruiter was impressed enough with your credentials to pick up the phone, call you, and inform you that you needed to “fix” your application, he or she is still going to be cautious with you. Don’t let yourself get labeled as “careless”, because the recruiter will be concerned that you might be careless on the job, too.
Some final words: Remember, a recruiter’s job is to “screen” applicants. A recruiter wants to refer the BEST candidates to his or her hiring manager. If they slip in a candidate who looks careless, or not 100% interested in the job at stake, then they risk hurting their reputation with their hiring manager. Make their job easy, and your chances for getting to the interview stage will increase dramatically. It’s simple, really. You just need to be responsive, and follow their directions!