Skip to main content

Lack Of Editing Is Applicants' Achilles Heel

I was speaking with someone who is reviewing resumes for a job opening.

As he's narrowed down the pile of resumes, he's been taken aback by basic errors. In one case, an applicant addressed him as "Mr. insert name here." Another applicant said they were interested in the job...with a competitor. Yes, the applicant wrote the name of a competitor instead of the name of the company to which he or she was applying. Nice touch.

It turns out this bemused resume reader isn't the only one scratching his head: A new CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers finds one of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is failing to customize their resumes to each employer. A full 79% of the hiring managers surveyed said they spend more time on a resume tailored to the company and the job, which makes total sense.

I can see why some applicants are dropping the ball though. Applying for jobs blindly online feels like a total crap shoot. You're sending your resume down a black hole never knowing if a human being will ever read it, much less get back to you. For all you know, a computer in Antarctica is scanning it, then forwarding it to the digital dustbin of history. So why bother to triple-check for spelling, content and grammar?

Well, here's why: Almost half (48%) of the hiring managers CareerBuilder surveyed read 25 applications or fewer for open jobs, and about 40% spend less than one minute reviewing each resume. Nearly 20% spend less than 30 seconds on each resume. Less than 30 seconds! That's the state of the current job market, folks. Address someone as "Mr./Ms. insert name here" and you're toast. Period. Hello, slush pile.

So tailoring your cover letter is crucial to landing a job right now. Ultimately, hiring managers want to know: Why do you want to work for us in particular? And what would you offer us as an employee? Think about it this way: If you were running a company and an applicant didn't address your company or the job specifically, what would you think? Probably that the person was too lazy to do any research on your company. Then you'd wonder what kind of employee the applicant would be (hint: probably not someone who has a keen attention to detail or much fire in the belly for the work).

Do some research on the companies you seek out, because there's simply no excuse in the age of Google not to do it. Use buzz words related to the job opening. And for God's sake, don't hit "send" right away if you're applying for jobs online. Let your customized cover letter age for a few hours like a fine wine, then come back and read it again. Something is guaranteed to jump out at you, whether it's an awkwardly written sentence, a spelling error or (gasp!) mentioning a competitor. If you can, have someone else read your cover letters before you send them.

Edit, edit, edit, then edit some more because you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The immediacy of the "send" button can kill your chances if you let it.

Besides, do you really want a hiring manager to remember you as the applicant who misspelled the company name? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…