In keeping with the Halloween spirit, let’s spend some time this week taking a look at five scary errors people have made during the job search process.
Having a voice mail greeting that’s a little too “creative”
A student’s outgoing cell phone voice mail message said she was unavailable because “she was sleeping from having walked the streets all night long.” Remember that your voice mail message and email address say a lot about you.
Sending a cover letter addressed “Dear Sir”
This isn’t strange…unless the person receiving the application is a woman. This year more women hold CEO positions than ever before. What’s the lesson here? Try your best to confirm the name of the person receiving your letter (and if the name given to you is Pat Jones, inquire whether or not Pat is Ms. or Mr.). If you don’t know the name, don’t assume the person’s a man. In that situation, “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Human Resources Representative” is the next best thing.
Confusing stalking and researching
One applicant sent a department director a cover letter, in which he referenced the director’s professional accomplishments as well the names of the director’s wife and children. Now that’s just creepy.
Social media permits some in depth research. Be sure to focus on the organization and the job. And while it’s understandable to inquire about potential supervisors and colleagues on Linked In, don’t mention the spouse and kids.
Using terrifying resume templates
Templates are great if you’ve never done a resume before. But templates can be tricky and guide you toward developing bad resumes.
Avoid templates that:
- List your contact information at the bottom of the resume (it should be listed at the top)
- Have a “Hobbies” section (irrelevant on a resume or during a job interview)
- Provide lots of graphics and funky fonts (the simpler the presentation the better)
The trickiest element of templates is the lack of flexibility they allow when developing a resume. You spend more time formatting your professional background toward a pre-designed resume format rather than developing a format that works for you. And that’s no treat.
Don’t say you won an office award that doesn’t exist. Don’t say you were a manager when you really weren’t. Employers find it “interesting” when a resume lists one year for dates of employment but the former manager only recalls you being an employee for one month. It’s one thing to professionally phrase common job duties. It’s another to boldly lie about your background.
If you find yourself falling prey to making the above mistakes, fear not. Correct your errors and go forward in your job search!
Were you curious?
6 creepy professions and their average incomes
Funeral Director – $54,330
Coroner – $58,720
Gravedigger – $26,400
Hazardous Materials Removal Worker – $37,600
Forensic entomologist – $47,740
Arachnologist – $61,660