What the Recruiter Sees

CLICK. And another job application gets sent out via the Internet. If it is this easy to apply for a job, why is it still so hard to get one? The pace of hiring is picking up, but being in a hurry and these sloppy mistakes can cost you the job. 

This is what I see every day as a recruiter on the job:

  • Generic resumes – please do not send a software engineer resume for a mechanical engineer job. And while you are tailoring EACH resume to the job for which you are applying, nix the wordy objective. You only need an objective – a short one – if you are entering a job field with little to no experience, or if you are trying to switch from one related career to another.
  • Stop using “see resume” on the application page. I often find myself scanning hundreds of applicants for one job. If I had the time to open your resume while qualifying applicants, I would. But I don’t. So increase your chances of getting a shot at a job by filling out the work history section of an application. Correctly. With the right dates. 
  • Do you have a job now? You need to list it, even if it is unrelated to the job for which you are applying. Leaving off three years worth of jobs looks like you haven’t worked in three years. Not a good thing when I, as a recruiter, like to submit applicants who are already working. Working applicants are employable candidates.
  • Reason for leaving – entering “fired” or “terminated” in this field is a guaranteed pass over. If you were asked to leave, come up with a succinct explanation and move on. BTW, entering “personal” here doesn’t cut it either. It raises an automatic red flag about you as a candidate. You’re secretive and you have something to hide. Like maybe you got fired.
  •  Job requirements – here’s a surprise: Many applicant tracking systems (ATS) will automatically disqualify your application if it does not indicate that you have the stated requirements. And don’t lie. If I call you and I ascertain you do not have the requirements for the job, I will disqualify you. And if you get it into your head to reapply for the same job after you have been disqualified or to set up another profile? Don’t. You will automatically be disqualified. Again.
  • Truth in advertising – If you are going to list “excellent communication skills” in your Skills Summary, then do not have poor grammar, odd punctuation, weird texting spellings or typos on your application and attached resume.
  • Phone numbers – Pay your cell phone bill. I call applicants who have disconnected numbers, full voice mailboxes or no mail boxes set up all the time. Why go through the bother of applying if you are not going to be reachable? Find another way to screen out the bill collectors and make yourself reachable. Your cell phone should be listed as your primary phone so that you do not have to wait to get home to find out someone is considering you for a new job. 
  • Do not hang up on me because you don’t know who is calling or because you do not want to talk right now. If you want a job, take the call. You can always politely request to schedule a phone interview when you have more time to talk. And don’t confuse a scheduled phone interview with an in-person interview. Not sure which one I want? Make sure by asking. It is embarrassing for you (and me) for you to show up at the company when all I wanted was a short phone interview.
  • If you have to return my call, don’t do it three months later after you finally found your “lost” cell phone. Chances are that the job will no longer be available. Or you may be in luck, having waited so long to call that the job becomes available again. 
  • Portfolios – not just for “creative” types. More employers are asking for portfolios of applicants’ best work. They don’t add the adjective “best” to be wordy. They mean it. Employers don’t want to see a hastily thrown together portfolio of your work that you put together because you suddenly realized there is an application deadline and you panicked. Add your best pieces to your portfolio as you create them. Then take the time to edit your portfolio according to what employers want to see. It is just like tailoring your resume to the job for which you are applying.

Happy job hunting!


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