As you know, recent jobs reports have given plenty of “fodder” to election campaigns on both sides of the aisle this year, and the latest numbers were no exception (as reported by The Wall Street Journal here). Amid it all, college graduates are entering the workforce looking for jobs this month, and competition for jobs therefore will only increase.
So how do you stand out for the crowd in this environment? Answer: Avoid common mistakes, for starters.
As I work with job seekers, I continue to see a number of mistakes they all seem to make. Job hunting is not easy and the path is cluttered with wrong turns. You can’t avoid them all but you can minimize some and eliminate others. Here are four that I think should be eliminated from every job search.
1. Casting a wide net will increase my chances. Not true. You are just wasting time and not concentrating on the jobs you can get. You must customize each resume to the job specifications and apply only for the positions that fit. Companies want to make the best fit they can, they don’t want to waste time or money.
2. Thinking you meet the criteria. Ads and job descriptions are there for a reason: to attract the right candidate. If you don’t meet at least 90% of the criteria, don’t answer the ad. In the hiring game, long shots don’t come in.
3. My resume doesn’t need to say everything. It doesn’t … but it needs to sell you and give the reader enough information so they can see you as a potential match for the position. Your resume needs to be easy to read, have an attractive format and be concise.
4. The interviewer will understand what I do. Definitely not. First, the person doing the first scan of resumes is probably someone in human resources who may or may not understand the job. Second, terminology and corporate structure can differ. Make sure everyone can understand what you do. Corporate names, abbreviations and explanations tied too closely to your employer/industry might not be understood by everyone.
To get to the next step, an interview, you must understand the process. The four items above can keep you from getting there. Here are 12 other common mistakes to watch, as well, according to U.S. News & World Report.