Job Application Etiquette

You are about to send your 100th resume, haven’t heard back from any companies and are getting discouraged. It is tempting to send out yet another generic resume, but don’t. Recruiters can tell when you have the same resume for every job because the resume really does not say very much about you and your experience. Here are a few tips on making the most of your resume submission and what will get you remembered.

*Tailor your resume to the position. If a skill is a requirement, make sure that it is TRUTHFULLY on your resume. Do not make up skills or experiences that you do not have.

*Follow the application instructions. Yes, you need to send a cover letter if one is asked for. Make sure you include the information the employer has asked to see in your cover letter. Check that you have signed your cover letter even if you are emailing it. A generic signature will not do.

*If you use an applicant tracking system to apply for a job, keep your username and password somewhere safe where you can find it again. Chances are good you may need to access the system to check on your application status or to apply for another job. You will not have to fill in many of the fields for the second job application if you know your login. You will also not have to call the company’s HR to check on your application progress or to ask for login help.

*If you are asked for letters of reference and/or transcripts, follow the instructions for obtaining them. Do not just send a reference contact list or leave off required documentation. Either of these mistakes can irritate the hiring manager and push your resume to the bottom of the pile or off the desk entirely and into the trash.

*Stay in contact with the potential employer. Withdraw your application by calling HR if you decide to take another position. Call instead of emailing, as this is one way to get feedback on whether the company is interested in your resume and in pursuing you in the future. Keep your options open. You never know; the job you just accepted may end up not being a good fit for you.

*If the hiring manager calls or emails you to inform you that you did not get the position, do not be a sore loser. Thank the manager for his or her time. You can ask for feedback; however, you should frame it positively as in, “What else would you like to see on my resume or what should I be working on that would make me a valuable future hire?” Instead of, “Why didn’t I get the job?”

Finding your next job is a numbers game, so listen to what the hiring managers tell you and keep applying!