Common Mistakes that Don’t Get You the Interview

After speaking with a current employer, whose day job is being an awesome Director of Marketing and who also does the hiring and firing, and office management at the law firm, she told me some common mistakes that candidates do or don’t do, and that costs them an interview.

Here are 5 common mistakes that will cost you a chance at an interview:

  1. No Self-Introduction.  When replying to the job post with a résumé and other requested documents, write a description of yourself.  It could be 3 sentences; she just wants to know who she’s hiring.
    • I didn’t think it was that common, but I’ve seen job posts that say, Don’t just send your résumé, tell us a little about yourself.
    • Put yourself in a buyer’s shoes.  You’re more likely to buy or invest in something if you know something about it worthy of your thoughts and consideration before buying it.
  2. No Phone Number.  When replying to the job post with a résumé and other requested documents, include your phone number under your name.  If she thinks you’re a candidate worthy of a phone interview and is ready to call you, and she’s too busy to find your résumé in the tall pile of other résumés, make it easier for her by including your phone number in the reply email (where you attached your résumé).  If she has to look for your résumé in order to call you, she won’t call you.
    • Pay attention to the “tall pile of other résumés”.  Hiring managers have lots of applicants and not enough time to go through everyone closely.  Make it easier for them, and you’ll increase your odds of getting noticed.
    • Pay attention to her job title – Director of Marketing.  Not only is she hiring and firing people, but she’s also in charge of marketing, so she’s doing the job of 1.5 – 2 people.  Make it easier for her and put your phone number in the reply email, and this is something so simple on your end (just 12 characters).
  3. Old Jobs at the Top.  The right way (or standard) is to put your most recent things at the top per each heading.  Let’s say you worked at 3 places before you applied to this job.  Under the “Work Experience” heading, put the most recent job first with relevant responsibilities, then the second most recent job with relevant responsibilities, and finally, the third most recent job with relevant responsibilities.
    • I haven’t found why the most recent job (order of most recent to least recent for every header), but I would guess that it’s because you’re putting the most up-to-date things, which makes you relevant.
  4. Really Stick to 1 Page.  She said that unless you published a lot of things or did a great deal, you want to aim for a 1-page résumé, at most 1.5 pages.  She’s really busy, as are most hiring managers, so they won’t have time to spend on you.
  5. Including Irrelevant Info.  If you’re a barista and applying to work at a law firm as a secretary, include transferrable skills.  Although the work environment is different, both baristas and secretaries provide good customer service and are able to work in fast-paced environments, to say the least.  Putting relevant skills works in your favor.  Just be careful of putting too many jobs in your Work Experience, since she mentioned that one applicant was a “job hopper”; basically the applicant is flaky.
    • Like in my previous post, if you aren’t expected to take out the trash, don’t put it on your résumé.

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