Doh! 10 facts job seekers often forget that can hurt them

be strategic in your job search, improving your job search, job seeker facts, job seeker truths,
Are you forgetting these 10 obvious
facts that could be hurting your
job prospects? Fix them now.
I spoke with a friend this week who is hiring for an open position. It’s been enlightening to learn from her why her company is more interested in some candidates than others even when they are all relatively qualified. 

Here are ten things I learned. Consider how this knowledge can help you improve your job prospects.


1) Including key words from the job description in your application materials is crucial. The first thing my friend did when she received a resume was search for key words from the job description. If they didn’t have the right words in their background, they didn’t make it to her “A” list to be interviewed.

What are key words? For an accountant, key words might be tax accounting, reconciliations, general ledger, and profit or loss statements. Learn more.

What key words do you continually find in job descriptions for which you apply? Weave those words into your application materials. And don’t just list such words under your past experience, show how these key efforts led to quantifiable results. Also include key words in a summary at the top of your resume and repeat them in your cover letter as proof points of your eligibility.

2) Having the right person recommend you can make a huge difference. Do you know a highly respected leader, client or partner of a target company to which you’ve applied? Do they think highly of you? If they do, ask them to recommend you for the position. Provide them with the job title and your resume so they can easily speak knowledgeably about you to the right people. Remember to thank them for their help and keep them posted about how things turn out.

3) If you aren’t in the salary range for a job, you aren’t in consideration. This isn’t to say that you have to lower your expectations, but you may be rejected if your stated going rate is far higher than a company expects to pay. To overcome this real possibility, research what the salary range is for various positions, apply for jobs that can afford you, avoid stating your salary expectations if you are not specifically asked, and let companies know if you are willing to take less money than you made previously.

4) Dropping off your resume could give the wrong impression. Rather than applying online, do you mail your resume or drop it off? While your hard copy resume probably looks nicer than it does after an online application system gets a hold of it, you could be giving the impression that you don’t know how to apply online (and therefore aren’t adequately proficient). If you are unable to apply online or type a resume and cover letter, get the training you need to do so.

5) You are up against stiff competition so you’ve got to stand out. Your resume could be one of hundreds for any given job, so whenever possible, send additional proof of your abilities. For example, send samples, a list of your LinkedIn recommendations, a link to a video or presentation about yourself, etc. Ways to stand out.

6) Candidates are rejected because recipients glaze over. Give recruiters a break from mind-numbingly similar (and boring) application materials. Write a genuinely interesting cover letter that touches on why you are interested in the company and why you are uniquely qualified for the position. Don’t be afraid to let your professional personality show … recruiters will thank you for it. Good ideas.

7) Even though you are really good, you may not be really right for a job. A hard-driving, Type A personality may seem a wrong fit for a disorganized nonprofit. A devoutly religious person may appear to be the wrong choice for a casino job. Companies are pre-disposed to not hire certain types of people for certain jobs. To improve your odds, reinforce in your cover letter why you are right for the job despite your background.

8) Where you worked previously may have as much bearing as what you did. Nonprofits often want someone who understands a nonprofit environment. Hospitals opt for people with health care experience. Corporations want corporate types and are often leery of applicants with just nonprofit experience. To counter these companies’ hiring tendencies, play up your relevant experience and downplay the sections of your background that could cause them to reject you.

For example, I applied for a corporate position after having worked at a Christian nonprofit. To improve my chances with the target company, I focused my resume on the corporate communications aspects of my nonprofit job, minimized my fundraising experience and used the nonprofit’s initials as the company name in all materials rather than the full name (because it included a denominational title.) My efforts worked and I was soon hired.

9) Your reputation precedes you. Former coworkers and acquaintances may work at your target companies. Do they remember you and your abilities fondly? If not, you could be sunk before you even get an interview. Make sure your work ethic and reputation are above reproach so that the people you know will help you get hired rather than keep you from being considered.

10) One company’s reject is another’s dream applicant. My friend Patti just landed a job after a long search. While she had felt the sting of rejection from some places because they thought she was too qualified, too highly paid, just not quite right, etc., one place thought she was perfect and hired her on the spot. That may be the case for you, too, So don’t despair if you’ve been rejected for some positions ... other company maybe waiting for someone exactly like you.

Use these 10 truths to better understand how companies select candidates and then resolve to overcome challenges. After all, it can help you land a job or get a better one.


Have you found these facts to be true in your job search? Share your perspectives via the Contact tab.

If I can be of help to you, let me know. Invite me to connect on LinkedIn. I will accept and then you can feel free to ask me questions there. -- Kathy

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2 comments :

  1. Homer had the same job for like 30 years. Doh! indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Homer had the same job for like 30 years. Doh! indeed.

    ReplyDelete

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