Avoid Making a Bad Impression When Applying for a Job

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By Neil O'Donnell, Christian Career Tools
November 8, 2010|11:04 am

After examining hundreds of applications, I have encountered countless resumes and cover letters that have destroyed any chance of an applicant getting an interview.

What are the things that will negatively impact your chances of getting an interview? The list presented here details major missteps applicants have made.

To Whom It May Concern
This phrase should be avoided at all costs. Admittedly, there are some instances where you will not have a choice. In most cases, however, a contact person will be listed in the job advertisement. If no contact person is listed, call and ask the company if there is a specific person to whom you can address your cover letter. It’s worth taking the time to do this.

Which to Use – Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss
A mistake here could land your resume in the shredder. Frankly, it annoys me when I receive a cover letter where “Ms.” precedes my name. My first name is not feminine (whatever the derivative). Consequently, when I encounter such a gaffe, I discard the application and move on to the next one. If the name of the contact person makes it difficult to discern the individual’s gender, simply write “Dear Director Smith” or “Dear John Smith.”

Proofread
One or two typos is one thing. More than two typos, and your application is one step closer to the shredder. Have a friend read over your resume or cover letter for grammatical and spelling errors.

No Crazy Fonts or Paper
I don’t have the best eyesight in the world. Consequently, any resume printed with hard to read fonts or on overly-bright paper will hurt my eyes. So what? Such resumes won’t be thoroughly read, limiting the effectiveness of the application and the applicant’s chances of getting an interview. Use white or ivory colored paper with Times Roman 12-point font, and please, no glitter.

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Submit On time
Sending in a resume late makes for a bad impression. If you learn of the opening AFTER the deadline to submit has passed, contact the company and ask if resumes will still be accepted. Such a move will put your application in a better light.

Don’t Continually Ask About When Decisions Will Be Made
Constantly checking on the status of your application will annoy the company/hiring manager. It’s one thing to call and inquire as to whether your resume was received. Calling each day to check to see if a decision was made is just a bad move.

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