It has been said, “To err is human.” This is very true, especially when people are under pressure to get a job. People can be prone to putting their foot in their mouth. They may do or say things that are inappropriate without realizing it. And they may even go so far as to disqualify themselves before they even get a job interview.
How does this happen? You may not realize it, but hiring managers can be highly critical of the behaviors of candidates. If they come on too strong, they seem desperate. If they don’t respond appropriately, this can send up red flags. How can you avoid eliminating yourself from consideration before you even have an opportunity to interview for a job? Here are some tips.
Follow the rules.
It’s possible that you can eliminate yourself from even being considered for a job if you neglect to follow the rules. Read through the job description and advertisement carefully. Follow the instructions provided. This can include how to apply for a position, who to send your resume to, and understanding the requirements of the job. You may not meet all of the requirements, but you want to meet as many of them as possible. Even if it’s time-consuming, follow the rules and apply the way you are supposed to – no shortcuts!
Be honest, but don’t be too honest.
People can be too honest in their emails or cover letters when applying for a job. They may reveal something that doesn’t belong in this format – instead, it should be discussed in an interview. Now we aren’t saying be dishonest, but don’t bring up points that would make you a non-desirable hire (only have X years of experience, don’t know this technology, etc.) Let this come out in the process. If you are asked directly about it, obviously don’t tell a lie. But it’s not a great idea to highlight your weaknesses and shortcomings.
Highlight your strengths, not weaknesses.
As a candidate, you want to paint yourself in the best possible light. This means, taking the time to highlight all of your achievements, skills and unique traits that you bring to the table. Do not bring up anything negative nor discuss your weaknesses at this point. If and when you get to the interview process, you will probably be asked what your weaknesses are. This will give you a chance to discuss your weaknesses in a positive way. For example, you could say that you are very detail-oriented and that causes you to need more time to work on projects.
Avoid bringing up negatives.
In all of your communications with the hiring team, be sure to avoid bringing up any potential negatives in your work history or personal background. This can happen innocently enough without your knowledge. Watch what you put on your resume too. Never ever say anything negative about a former employer or the work that you performed there.
Provide your contact information.
You would be surprised at how many times candidates apply for a job, but then neglect to provide adequate contact information. This includes a home telephone number and a mobile telephone number. Use a professional email address and be sure to check it frequently. Avoid using message numbers or voicemails that have long musical recordings before someone can leave a message. Remember, keep it professional and set a good impression of yourself from day one.
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