There’s no doubt that applying for a new job can be a fraught business. You’re trying to sell yourself, but without sounding arrogant; talk of your achievements, but make it clear you still feel you have plenty to learn. It’s a minefield, and one made all the more complicated by your own mind.
With every application, you can find yourself facing a turmoil of different questions – not from the company, but from yourself. As you obsessively switching between “am I listing the right job experience?” and “how long should a cover letter be?”, there still might be something you’re overlooking.
For those who spend their days looking through job applications, there are a few immediate red flags that make them move on from an application. While this can vary between individual recruiters, for the most part, many have the same errors and styles of presentation that make them want to skip on by. So while it’s still very important to focus on what you should be doing, it’s just as important to ensure you’re avoiding the things you shouldn’t be doing. Things such as…
- Using Stock Phrases
We have all experienced that feeling when you hear or read a phrase so much, it starts to become deeply annoying. It might just be a catchphrase from a well-known TV show, or something one of your friends has a penchant for saying – but it’s annoying, and that’s all that matters.
Well, recruiters experience the same thing when they read through endless amounts of resumés. They, too, find the same phrases incredibly annoying, so it’s worth taking the time to go through your application and remove any of the following:
- “References available by request.” – if you have references, just include them.
- “Responsible for” or “experience working in” – when discussing previous job details.
- “Team player”
These phrases are used so much they begin to sound like white noise, so at the very least, look through a thesaurus and find a different way of making essentially the same point!
- Short On Details
There’s little point in just listing all the places that you have ever worked, with no further information as to what you did there beyond the job title.
You need to give information as far as is possible on what your tasks were, and what general lessons they taught you. Anything else is just too vague; being specific can assure a recruiter that you have valuable skills, rather than just an impressive list of job titles.
- Walls Of TextAnything on your resumé should be designed to be read. That’s the entire point, of course; you want to impress the recruiter with the information you’ve provided, not make it difficult for them to read it.
Use paragraphs, bullet points, and subheadings to separate out your resumé and ensure it’s easy to read. This might make it longer in terms of the number of sheets of paper, but it’s infinitely more readable – which is the goal.
- Detailing Basic Information
You might be able to use the entire Microsoft Office suite, and that’s great – but recruiters are more than likely just to take that as a given. Unless this is specifically detailed on the job listing as a necessity, omit information that is standard for the populace at large.
The same goes for your high school, basic software, and social media. Sure, you’re able to use these things, but unless they are specific to the job in hand, there’s no need to mention them. It just looks like filler of basic information rather than anything that actually enhances you as a prospective candidate.
- Not Explaining Gaps In Your Timeline
Finally, your resumé should be a good snapshot of your life up until now. That means if you took time off to travel or due to personal reasons, you need to note this on your resumé. A simple sentence to explain why there is a gap in your educational or career history is necessary. You don’t want a recruiter to be wondering what happened during certain times of your life as they are more than likely going to assume bad things, so keep those details filled in.
So remember, what you do include on your resumé is important – but ensuring you avoid some things is almost as vital!