Why you will never get a job interview: Job application mistakes

Job hunting sucks. We all know that, but silly job application mistakes can be so frequent that I struggle to be patient sometimes.

There are the basic mistakes like lengthy resumes, useless “objective/mission” statements, lies and then there are the BIG blunders like embarrassing email addresses such as [email protected] or letting your online profiles be public instead of private.

Our team at TheJobSearchCoach regularly (and discretely) share some of the funny and not so funny moments of our coaching experiences. I could probably write a book’s worth of funny and sad material on mistakes job seekers make, but that would make for a very lengthy blog post. So for now, I’ll start with the 3 most common job application mistakes that really hurt your chances of getting an interview.

Do you recognise any of these job application mistakes?


#1 You don’t have a proper LinkedIn profile

Seriously guys, we are approaching the last days of 2014 and you are job hunting without a proper LinkedIn profile? For white collar job seekers, that is one of the BIGGEST job application mistakes you can make.

I am amazed how many of our clients have a LinkedIn profile with no content.

First of all, LinkedIn is the leading place for hiring managers to cross check your application and resume information – to check you out so to speak and to find and hire employees. So, if LinkedIn is one of the first places where hiring professionals go to cross check or hire new employees, what possible excuse do you have for not having an up-to-date profile?

Recruiters and hiring managers almost always look up your LinkedIn profile. Why? Because they don’t want to waste their time. Simple. They’re looking for more information in addition to your application to better decide if you’re the right fit for that first step in the recruiting process. You guessed it … the interview. Not having a proper LinkedIn profile puts you at a disadvantage.

Do you want to be perceived as a candidate who understands how to use social media and is therefore be categorised as tech and social media savvy, or do you prefer to be stereotyped as one who doesn’t? LinkedIn is a social media site and when a recruiter cannot find you or check you out on LinkedIn, the first assumption is that you may not understand basic things like Facebook, effectively using the internet, mobile technology, apps or that are simply not social media knowledgeable in general. Invest those 15 or 30 minutes to update your LinkedIn profile and don’t let this silly mistake hurt your chances of finding a great job.


#2 You are too lazy to follow up

I know, job searching is no fun – but suck it up. If you’re seriously searching then you probably don’t have a choice so you need to ALWAYS follow up with employers.

After initially applying for a job, following up is a smart and easy way to separate yourself from the competition.

If 250 people applied for a position, you can’t just rely on the strength of your skills and experiences to get an interview anymore. After all, hiring managers spend an average of only 10 seconds looking at a resume. That’s simply not enough time to make an impression. In today’s age, you have to constantly search for ways to stand out from the competition. A simple follow up can accomplish that goal.

You can follow up in two ways: over the phone or online. Most importantly, each follow up must add value. The goal of a follow up is to engage the hiring manager in a conversation, add value to yourself and ultimately create an impression. You can use your communication skills to start any kind of conversation, but the easiest way is to say your name, why you’re calling and ask a good question.

However, following up in the correct manner can be challenging. We all get nervous and you want to really try and avoid saying the wrong thing or accidently creating the wrong impression. So… practice and prepare before you make that call. Contact us if you need some training or coaching. We can help you master this important skill. Also, why don’t you share your own insights, tips and tricks right here in the comment box? Sharing is Caring.

When you follow up, have a conversation and do your best to say things that add value to you as a potential employee. Remember, you may be talking to the person who is in charge of giving you the interview and possibly, the job. If you have a chance to mention your particular skills or experiences in the conversation, jump at the opportunity to do so. Try to sell yourself at any chance possible and mention anything that would make the hiring manager give you greater consideration.

A follow up encourages a hiring professional to think about you, and that’s exactly what you want. You took the initiative to make the call or send the message and created some kind of impression for yourself. If you do this for every job you apply for then you’re very likely to get more responses and interviews.


#3 Your contact details

In a perfect world, you would end every new business interaction with “do you mind if we exchange business cards? I’m always trying to expand my network.”

How do people get great jobs?

I’ll tell you how. It’s not who you know, it’s who wants to know you.  If you make it too hard for people to get in touch with you then they just won’t be bothered because you are wasting their time. Get it? I am talking about having your details clearly at the top or bottom of your resume, cover letter and your email message (which is currently likely without a proper email signature).

It’s not that hard to set up a proper signature which contains all the info I would want to find about you. No matter what the document is, your name, phone/mobile, email address and possibly mailing address are must haves. If you are switched on, add your LinkedIn tag. Click here to get your own unique LinkedIn badge (you have to login).

Email is still the most common communication tool. An email signature is simply a few words that are automatically added to the end of every email you send. Most people use an email signature to display their contact details like name and phone number. So don’t forget it when you apply for jobs. You can set one up and turn it off and on as well so you don’t have to worry about including your signature on all your personal emails.

I conclude…

Let’s be honest here, there’s a lot more than 3 job application mistakes that people make when job hunting. Don’t be someone that includes a watermark of a fancy design and only half the required contact details, without a contact phone number or LinkedIn profile, and don’t be someone that expects the hiring manager to read and search through the documents to find your contact details. I’ve seen this many times… Ouch – that hurts!

If you want to get a job interview – follow these 3 steps:

  • Impress me with your professional application documents, including your contact details
  • Prove that you are savvy and connected to today’s world
  • Deliver with a professional Follow Up

If you get all that right, I’d consider calling you for a job interview. Don’t wait – do it and remember to hunt wisely!