The importance of double checking your job application before it’s sent.

I’ve been helping a friend of mine who recently decided that he couldn’t continue at the job he had, find a job he think he would be happy at. He claims that he needs a change in scenery and challenges. It’s been a rough five weeks for him as far as the job search process goes, since he’s having a tough time getting a response from the jobs that he applied for. But this can be blamed on him being very picky in the jobs he applies for. BTW, are you following the career video series ‘The Work from Home Minute” on my Youtube channel? There’s a video I did on this topic there.

His daily routine includes checking several career and job posting websites which caters specifically to the type of job he’s looking for. It’s amazing how we can now zero in with our job search with the abundance of niches specific career sites there are online today. Additionally he subscribed to several RSS feeds that deliver vacant jobs to his rss reader and I suggested that he should set up a Google alert for the type of job he’s looking for. Basically Google will send him updates when the keyword he entered is mentioned online directly to his email.

He finally lucked out a few days ago and not only found a position that seemed perfect for what he was looking, but in a matter of hours he found another job that was very similar to the first. Both jobs were located fairly close to where he live, but as an added bonus they allowed for telecommuting. So he had the option of working from home a few days a week, providing he landed the job. He was even more excited at the “challenge” these two positions seemed to posses.

I helped him to craft an excellent cover letter that zeroed in on all the employer was looking for and tailored his resume for the first position. He sent off his application with his fingers crossed and there was a glow of confidence in him when we discussed his chances at landing this one. The second job he did the same thing and was excited at his prospect of landing either job as he felt he had the skills the employers were looking for. However in his haste to send the second application out, he failed to edit his cover letter with the correct company and contact details, not to mention he didn’t edit the position title he was applying for. Basically the cover letter he sent out applied to the first position and had nothing to do with the second job. As you can tell, I didn’t help with the application of the second position, nor did he get feedback from any one else.

What can we learn from this? Always double check everything before sending out an application to an employer. After that application leaves your email program, is faxed or sent by traditional mail, it’s gone. There’s no stopping it to make edits or changes and it’s the make or break as far as getting considered for an interview. Make it a rule to not only double check things, but have someone else look it over for you as well. It’s always good practice to have an extra set of eyes look for errors etc.

Here’s one more tip as far as emailing out your resume and cover letter to a potential employer. Email a copy to yourself as you would an employer. This will allow you to see exactly what an employer will see when you send out the actual application. Look for formatting issues, check to see if your email goes in the junk folder or inbox and pay attention to the attachments if you included any. Ensure that you can open the attachments without any problems.

4 Ways To Not Get Hired for The Job You Applied For.

The resume is the first real connection you make with the employer or hiring manager and it comes down to “first impressions”. My mom would always say “the first impression is what counts” and I’m sure you’ve heard this a million and one times in your life. So what you include on your resume will have an immediate positive or negative effect as far as you getting that call or email inviting you to come in for an interview. As we discussed in an earlier article “Six Things You Should Omit From Your Resume“, there are several critical mistake people make on their resume that can be avoided. Have you gone through your resume to see if your resume needed editing?

In this article we’ll go though four things that some job seekers still choose to include on their resume, which would explain why they’re guaranteed to never be shortlisted for the job they applied for. Once you go through the list you’ll notice a trend…

1. Sexual Preference: Your sexual preference has no relevance on how well you can perform the job. Leave it out when putting together your résumé, because according to statistics, discrimination still exists in the hiring process. By including this information you’re leaving yourself open to having your resume discarded.

2. Discussing religion in the workplace is another big no-no in North America. Including your religion, or lack thereof, on a résumé is too controversial and is irrelevant to the job. So unless you’re applying for a job at a religious institution, exclude this information. In my years as a career coach I’ve seen this mistake several times and the funny thing is, the job seekers who include it are under the impression that it would put a positive spin on their hiring chances.

3. Political Identity: Again, asking your future employer to acknowledge your political leanings is just too controversial.

4. The world of our great grand parents are no longer and prejudices will not be tolerated. If you harbor any prejudices against certain groups or individuals, it’s best to keep that to yourself (or consider counseling). Advertising the fact that you don’t work well with others is not going to get you the job. Employers want employees who can blend into the workplace and relate to their co-workers in a civilized manner.

Take a look at your resume and make the necessary edits if there’s room for improvement. It makes absolutely no sense spending countless hours at the job bank and even more time and money sending out countless resumes and applications if your resume is destined for the garbage can, due to the simple errors you never corrected.

Are You Making This Critical Job Application Mistake?

So you’ve applied for what you think is a “dream job” and you’re patiently waiting to hear back from the hiring manager. But wait! It’s been more than 3 weeks and still not a word about a possible interview. In our haste to apply for jobs we get excited about, there’s a vast majority of us who tend to overlook some of the basics when apply for a posted vacant job. As I’ve pointed out in the past, it’s very important to apply for jobs as soon as they become available so you can get the “jump” on other job seekers applying for that particular job. This means checking the classifieds and job listings websites as often as you can. Make it a daily routine if you can. In this video I’ll touch on a mistake that I’m sure you’ve made at least once in the past and how to avoid making that mistake again, as it will cost you ever getting a response from the employer. Do leave me your comments below…

How to write a successful cover letter when applying for jobs online.

With all the emails people receive and ignore these days, one must question if a cover letter is necessary when applying for a job online. Personally I’ve created several filters and methods to avoid having to go through the onslaught of emails I receive on a daily basis. But I strongly believe that every resume sent to an employer should be accompanied by a cover letter as I see it as the first page of a good resume. Giving the application process a personal feel the resume can’t and it also shows the employer that you have the qualities they require, as you can focus on this in the cover letter.

In this brief guide I’ll go through some key components to a successful cover letter:

If emailed put your cover letter in the body of the email. If you plan on attaching it I would recommend that you convert it into pdf format, as employers are more likely to trust an attachment that’s in pdf. Remember to say what the attachment is, in the body of the email so it doesn’t seem like a blank email and deleted as spam.

Don’t make the employer work to read your letter! Make it easy to read so keep away from going crazy with the font you choose. (match the font used on your resume)

Keep it clear, concise and to the point. (you’re not writing an essay)

Use your own words not formal long-winded clichés. This is what gives it the “personal” touch so the employer can really connect with you.

Action verbs can help to make it sound better.

Spell-check and then double-check your spelling and grammar. Spell checkers won’t pick up form instead of from or sex instead of six!

Answer the question “Why should I see you?”

Make the person who reads it feel special: that it is addressed to them personally and not one of fifty identical letters you are sending out without thought or care. WARNING! Remember to research the “contact” so you’re actually sending the cover letter / application to the person making the decision. Don’t forget to double check the exact spelling of that person’s name. It’s very unprofessional to misspell a person’s name, especially in this case.

You might include your understanding of the work/knowledge of the company, and how you fit the criteria required. “I have a real interest in working as a ….” will not do: you must say why you decided to pursue this career, what first brought it to your attention, why you as a Science student should be interested in a career in finance.

Relate your skills to the job. Show the employer that you have obtained the communicating, team working, problem solving and leadership or other skills that are appropriate for the job.

Say when you’re available to start work (and end, if it’s a placement): be as flexible as possible, but don’t say things you know you can’t fulfill.

* A recent survey showed that  60% of resume/cover letters are mailed to the wrong person.

It’s important that you demonstrate to the potential employer that you understand the job requirements and can do the job. So include the skills and experiences you have that match the job description. You also need to show that you are enthusiastic and have a positive attitude towards the role and the hiring company.

Good luck with your job search.