Maybe we misspelled a name on the cover letter or told the hiring manager a little too much personal information. Either way, we knew it was the moment we were culled from the herd. Separated from the pack. Unceremoniously dropped into the “NO” pile. These defeats are definitely more painful than cuts based on experience and credentials, and I want to spare you some heartache.Here is my list of what not to do – this is based on personal experience, many years as a recruiter, and experience working as a job search coach.
So whatever you do… DO NOT…
1) Use your current employer’s phone number or email address for communication regarding your job search. Do not interview from your current office phone. Do not use your current work email on your resume.
2) Lie. You should never misrepresent yourself, your experience or anything at all. It WILL come back to bite you.
3) Address your cover letter using “To Whom It May Concern.” Do make an effort to get the name of a real person. Use Google, use LinkedIn, pick up the phone, send an email or read the posting. Using a generic salutation screams, “I’m not thorough and can’t be bothered to follow directions or take the time to do the research.” Not good.
4) Get too comfortable. Do not share your entire life story during the interview, swear, curse your ex-wife, or talk about your most recent night out with friends.
5) Talk bad about your current employer. It reveals more about you than your jerky boss and no one wants another whiner in the office.
6) Interrogate your interviewer. Having questions about the potential role, the organization and the office culture is appropriate. Aggressively turning the conversation around to grill the interviewer about their objectives in hiring is not.
7) Neglect to do your research. Don’t walk into an interview without knowing the organization. Use social media and the internet to do your research. Check for recent stories in the news. Talk to your networks. Be prepared.
8) Stalk the interviewer or hiring manager. There is a distinct line between thoughtful, genuine follow up and hassling your interviewer. Don’t cross that line. Period.
9) Forget to show gratitude. It’s a small world and you’re likely to cross paths with the same people over and over again. Send a thank you email. Accept rejection with grace. Keep your petty comments to yourself. Give people a reason to like you beyond your qualifications and you’ll stand out from the crowd.
10) Forget to ask for feedback. If things don’t go well, be honest about your experience. Ask for feedback and listen to the answer. Then change your approach or your credentials to address any real issues.