We are all familiar with the process of applying for jobs and, most likely, feel that we know what looks good on a job application. But what about those little things you may think are no big deal, that give the hiring manager an instantly negative impression? I’ve been recruiting for Symbiosys since last year, and here are the top 5 things I see on job applications that should be avoided.
1. Carelessly chosen email addresses.
This is the first thing I see when I open an email from a new job applicant, and yes, if your email address is something other than your name, it says something about you. I had someone applying for a well-paid IT position with an email address including the name of an infamous womanizer, and I instantly took that applicant less seriously, and almost did not ask him for an interview, despite his clear qualifications. Be mindful of what your email address may say about you.
2. The name you have attached to your email address.
This is perhaps more important than the email address, because I see it in the subject line before I even open the email. This should always be your name, for a few reasons. First, if I want to save your contact information, it’s more work for me to have to change your name using a CRM tool like Insightly if the name attached to your email is something like Krazy Kat Lady (true story). Second, if I want to send you something and I have to hunt for your name, I am less likely to take the time to do that. And third, why would you apply for jobs with anything other than your name?
3. The photo you have attached to your email address.
I’ve been guilty of this one in the past. I had a nice neutral email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) with my first name and last name attached to the address. My photo, however, was my gaming avatar. I had attached it to my Google+ account, not realizing it would also be visible to anyone else I emailed that had a gmail account. Make sure you know which social media is attached to your email address, and how those photos may interact with it publicly. Don’t apply for jobs with a troll druid or a picture of you getting wasted as your visual representative.
4. Using proper grammar and capitalization in your intro email.
You may have a perfect resume and cover letter, but if you send me an email with multiple uncapitalized “i’s” you undermine the whole thing. It comes off as careless and makes you look less qualified than you probably are. Every piece of correspondence you have with a potential employer deserves your full attention to grammar and spelling. I promise we read those messages and form opinions based on them. Also if you send us an email with your name or the body in uppercase WE THINK YOU ARE SHOUTING AT US. See?
5. Know which jobs you applied for.
It can be hard to find a job, and while job hunting you may send out many applications a day. Those of us who deal with hiring understand this. However, if I email you to ask for an interview, and you respond by asking me which position this is regarding after I give you the relevant details (title of position, name of company, etc…), this says to me you have no real interest in the job you applied for. Even if you don’t have any real interest, always look like you do. Someone else may not have your qualifications, but especially in small companies like the one I work for, we look for a personality fit just about as much as we look at your skills. Make sure you are excited about the work and the company. Bonus points if you look up the company online and know something about them for an interview.
These things will seem obvious to many people, but a surprising number of applicants mess up one or more of them. Be aware of all facets of your representation to potential employers, and it will definitely improve your chances of getting hired.