Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Why Can't I Get a Job?"

I've been hearing that question a lot lately.

For each person, it's a different reason. Right now, it's mostly the economy. However, some people immediately take themselves out of the running by bone-headed moves.

So I posted the following question on Twitter and Facebook: "What mistakes do you see from recent grads during the search/interview process?"

Loads of people responded. Most of their responses fell under the following seven mistakes:
  • Don't know what they want to do // "I could do account service or creative." No. No you can't. If I'm hiring a writer, and it's between a writer and someone who could do whatever, who do you think I'm hiring? 
  • Don't stand out // Boring resume? Generic cover letter? No interview for you. If you can't effectively market yourself, why would I hire you to market my client?
  • Irrelevant information // Unless one of my clients is HyVee, I don't care that you worked for HyVee. You only have about 20 seconds to capture my attention with your resume. Don't waste it on things I don't care about.
  • Mistakes // As my friend David so eloquently said "Proof. Proof. Proog. Oops." 
  • Not prepared // "So annoying when students come in for an interview and don't know a flipping thing about my company." Why would you want to annoy the interviewer?
  • Following bad advice // This comes from a recruiter: "Following really bad advice from a parent or relative. Like asking for upper 30s for a first job in advertising." Make sure you're getting advice from people who know what they're talking about.
  • No follow up // "A thank you note afterwards is a nice touch. Hardly anyone does it anymore and it can really make you stand out." And when she says note, she mean handwritten.
I'm sure you've heard most, if not all, of these before. However, these are the common mistakes recent grads continue to make. Want to have a chance at getting that job? Make sure you don't do any of the above.

Good luck.


Tosha Jackson said...

All great advice Kevin! We here at candid recently went through the process of hiring an intern. We saw every silly little mistake possible. When inquiring about an internship or job, they should at the very least get the person's name correct that they are contacting.. Sara or Sarah? That is the question.

Also, I don't recommend wearing a button-up top that clearly does not fit, especially without wearing a cami underneath (Victoria's secret was out!)

While the young woman that we ended up choosing may not have been the most talented, she did everything right from being professionally dressed to sending a handwritten thank you note. And it got her the internship.

Wes Mikel said...

I had to psyche myself up. Even though it was a little Annette Benning-esque from "America Beauty," it got me excited and full of energy, which rubbed off on the people interviewing me. We enjoyed ourselves!

The one time I actually did all of the things you'd been telling me to do all along (including the hand-written thank you note), I got the job.

Elisa Haake said...

As a recruiter, I have the opportunity to give the same advise to lot's of job-seekers, I am surprised at how many don't take it.