Friday, February 8, 2013

5 Ways Job Applicants Disqualify Themselves

by Phil Rosenberg

It’s hard enough to qualify for jobs today, when you’re competing against 1,000 average applicants.
Why make it even tougher on yourself?

You’d be surprised that many candidates disqualify themselves. Of course this isn’t on purpose, but candidates disqualify themselves because of obsolete job search habits or simple mistakes.
Just about every candidate says “I’d never do that”, but you’d be surprised what a high percentage of candidates are making these errors.

Take a close look at your resume and the jobs you’re applying for, to see how many of these deal-killing job search mistakes you’re making:
  1. Don’t meet all the listed requirements: When you’re competing with 1,000 average competitors, the hiring manager will find plenty of applicants that meet all of the listed requirements. What happens to the applicants who don’t meet all of the listed requirements? They’re disqualified by the Applicant Tracking System, and don’t get in front of human eyes. Of course you can learn, but why would an employer consider you when they have other applicants who already possess that knowledge? Invest your time in research and customizing your resume for jobs where you have the highest chance of an interview, and ignore jobs where you only meet some of the requirements.

  2. Typos and errors: How can you show employers any kind of attention to detail, when your resume has typos or formatting errors? Typos and errors are the easiest way to disqualify candidates and it’s one of the first things that catches a reader’s eye – Typos and grammar errors are easy to catch, thanks to spell/grammar checking. Formatting can be even more glaring as margins and page breaks can occur in strange places, because your resume format might look different on your reader’s screen. You can eliminate this risk by sending your resume in a .doc format.

  3. Only minor resume customization: When you don’t customize your resume (even if you send a customized cover letter) you’re just asking to be disqualified. If you send the same (or merely tweaked) resume, you can’t effectively show your reader that you meet their specific needs, even if you are always applying for the same job title. Each individual company has its own unique language, terminology, jargon, acronyms, metrics, and priorities. Different companies often refer to the exact same thing (function, skill, report, metric) using completely different words. Even though those different words may have the same meaning, ATSs aren’t set up to be a corporate thesaurus.

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