With the week I’ve just had – I feel compelled to dole out some completely unsolicited advice as a human resources executive. So for what it’s worth to all you job seekers out there…
Please understand that the road to an interview begins at first contact.
If you submit a thorough application with all the supplemental documents requested by the prospective employer, it says you are competent and able to follow simple directions. Conversely, if you fail to do this, it says you are lazy. Competency is a valuable trait to a potential employer, laziness, not so much.
Meet the deadline.
If you submit your application before the deadline, it means you will at least be considered with the rest of the candidates. If you do not, and then have the audacity to contact the prospective employer to request the deadline extended just for you – you will not be considered for the position in question, and you will be considered “the one with the entitlement complex who can’t meet a deadline” and it will hamper future prospects because you will be remembered – and not in a good way.
If the prospective employer requests your application submitted electronically in a particular format, and you comply, it means your application may be considered. If you mail a hard copy, submit a Word document when a PDF is requested, or call the prospective employer to ask them how to scan, convert, or electronically attach an item, it says at best you are technically challenged and at worst un-resourceful. Neither of these traits are highly sought by potential employers.
Check your work.
If your cover letter, resume, and application are well written and free of typographical or grammatical errors, then you have just increased your chances for an interview. If you present yourself poorly on paper, prospective employers lose interest very quickly.
Think before you speak.
If you have a legitimate question (meaning one that is not already answered on the employers application instructions, website, or other available publications) please write down what you want to ask before you make that call. Be concise, courteous, and clear in your question. Please don’t use your cell phone if there is a chance you’ll lose service. If you follow this advice, the staff will notice and appreciate it – and it just may improve your chances of progressing to the next step. If you do not, you will be perceived as wasting the organization’s time, and that won’t put you on the fast track for an interview.
Your interaction with the front office matters. These people are already employed where you’d like to have a job. If you disrespect them, they will tell. If you are not well spoken, they will tell. If you are dressed inappropriately, they will notice, and they will tell. If you sit in the lobby and spend all your time texting or otherwise electronically engaged, they will tell. If you are gracious, polite, well mannered, and friendly, they will not only tell, but also perhaps move your application to the top of the stack!
The competition is fierce. Please, please follow the application instructions, meet the deadlines, and be nice. Help us help you!