#10 – Your cover letter sucks

Image Credit: northeastern.edu

Image Credit: northeastern.edu

Yep, we’ve all been there – unemployed, looking for a job and submitting the same damn cover letter & resume to every single job-ad. Don’t worry – I’m not expecting you to produce a completely unique cover-letter, that would be wildly inefficient, but I do like to see an element of personalisation in there somewhere.

You should have ~5 cover letter templates that you use when applying for different roles, and each of them should have a short section (even just a couple of sentences) which serves the purpose of being personalised for that job/company.

Use this section to talk specifically about the company, or the industry – I will see it and note that you put a little more effort in than a simple copy & paste.

And make sure the spelling/grammer is perfect in these cover letters – if you can’t spell when you’re applying for a job – what does that tell me about the quality of your spelling at work?

#9 – Your resume sucks

Image Credit: cssmenumaker.com

Image Credit: cssmenumaker.com

Much of the same applies to your resume. Again – you should have a handful of resumes that are tailored for each different kind of job. Each resume can contain varying job titles, and additional blurb/information that is specific for the job that you’re applying for.

It needs to be relevant – if you’re applying for a customer service role and your resume shows all your past jobs in sales – I’m going to be left wondering why you’re applying for a customer service role…?

Shake up your resume here – you don’t need to lie, but you should re-write the information about each position from a customer/client perspective – tell me how each sales role improved your customer-facing abilities. Keep your resume to 1-page, and your writing brief.

And if you’re clever – you’d do well to display your skills on your resume. If you’re applying for a graphic design position – I expect your resume to be graphically impressive.

When I was applying for roles in the  SEO industry – I didn’t even have a paper-version of my resume – I built a one-page resume website instead.

#8 – Your email address sucks

Image Credit: snagajob.com

Image Credit: snagajob.com

Who knew there could be so many problems with an email address? I’m sorry, but please don’t use a Hotmail address when applying for a job – especially if you’re applying for a tech or marketing role!

Everyone knows (or at least, they should know) that Hotmail is a sub-standard email-provider – there’s no excuse for not having a Gmail account nowadays! If you’re using a Hotmail address – that tells me that you’re probably not as tech savvy as the rest of your resume makes you out to be.

Of course – those who have their own domain name or website, and use an email address attached to that are most favoured in my mind, because it shows that you are knowledgeable, professional and that you value your personal reputation.

Don’t let me catch you using Microsoft Outlook either – that would be embarrassing.

#7 – Your social media profiles suck

Image Credit: wpengine.com

Image Credit: wpengine.com

Listen – once you’ve submitted your resume and you’ve gained my interest – know that I am going to find you on Facebook.

I don’t mind seeing funny pictures of your lads/ladies holiday to Thailand in your photo albums (in fact – this shows that you’re outgoing and actually have non-cyber friends!), but I can also sense if you’re a crazy party animal who is likely to rock up 10 minutes late and with a hangover every Monday morning.

Bad-mouthing your current/previous work place/colleagues is a huge no-no, and whilst I don’t expect your spelling/grammar to be perfect in every post – I do like to see a level of self-respect and appreciation for personal-reputation.

If your spelling is consistently atrocious it will annoy me, and annoying me means you’re not getting a job. Obviously.

#6 – Your interview sucked

Image Credit: thegreenlightmag.org

Image Credit: thegreenlightmag.org

Okay – so you managed to woo me with your resume and your spelling on Facebook was above-average, but there’re still a few hurdles left to jump here. Please don’t be late for your interview – in fact, if you’re not 5 minutes early for your interview – you’re late.

It won’t automatically fail you in getting this job, but it’s not a good first impressions, and first impressions are heaps important.

Dress appropriately for the position you’re applying for. Don’t rock up to an office-job interview with torn jeans and a boob tube, and don’t come dressed like you’re going for a wedding either – I don’t want you to make me look like a scruff because you’re in a $3000 suit.

Here’s a lesser-known tip – before you go for your interview, simply ask the interviewer what is appropriate for you to wear.

They’ll be surprised, but there’s little doubt that they’ll appreciate the fact that you’re considering how to dress appropriately for meeting them – this’ll get you brownie points before the interview even starts.

. And don’t forget to have a shower, do your hair and clean your teeth/use mouthwash! Personal hygene is important to both me and my current work colleagues – it should be important to you too.

#5 – Your personality sucks

Image Credit: zcache.com

Image Credit: zcache.com

It’s quite simple – be a like-able person. I want to see you smiling and being positive. Make me smile and laugh, as often as possible. Be serious and professional but at the same time be someone who I wouldn’t mind having a beer with after work on a Friday.

Your job won’t just be about the quality of your work – it’ll also be how well you work as part of a team and if your team even like you.

If you’re not a like-able person, people will avoid you, and that doesn’t make for an efficient workplace.

I expect you to be sociable – be happy to go out for birthday lunches, and have a drink or two after work on a Friday night. Talk to people when you come into the office on Monday morning – catch up and ask everyone what they got up to over the weekend.

During your interview – if you can get me casually chatting to you as if you’re an old friend I’ve known forever – you’re far more likely to get the job than if you’re lifeless and boring. Please don’t be boring.

#4 – Your knowledge of me / my company sucks

Image Credit: 11recruitment.com

Image Credit: 11recruitment.com

As stated previously – you should make minor personalisations to your cover letter to specifically mention the company or industry into which you’re trying to get employment.

And once you’ve been made aware of your interview date/time – you should set about researching more information about the company and the industry they’re in.

During the interview I expect you to casually show that you’ve done at least a small amount of research.

During the interview – you’d do well to casually reference one of the latest press releases from the company, or a recent blog post on the company website. Mention some recent industry news, or congratulate me on a recent award I received.

Any of these things would indirectly inform me that you’ve researched me or the company, and this could be enough to set you apart from the other applicants.

#3 – Your appreciation for my  needs sucks

Image Credit: blogspot.com

Image Credit: blogspot.com

I’m sorry – but it’s not all about you. No doubt this job will be beneficial for your bank account and future-resume, but I’m the one with the job to give.

You need to persuade me what value you’ll bring to me and my company, and I why I should employ you or not one of the other 100 people who applied for this position. What makes you different from the others? What can you bring to the table that the others can’t?

I want to know why employing you will improve the bottom line of my company within the next 12 months or less – if you can’t give me a unique answer, I’m not interested.

#2 – Your ambition sucks

Image Credit: trendspig.com

Image Credit: trendspig.com

Your ambition says a lot about you as person. Some people are content with doing the same office job week-in, week-out for their entire working life. They hate every day, hate getting up in the morning, hate the commute to work, hate their work colleagues and are bitter about how ‘unlucky’ they are in life.

I have no sympathy for you people. If something makes you unhappy – change it. When I ask what you want to be doing in 10 years time – I want you to tell me your dreams of working for yourself on an island off the coast of Greece, or whatever it is you’d really love to do.

And belive in it – don’t just say it, actually have your goals mapped out in your head, and make sure they’re interesting. If you answer my question about your ambitions with ‘umm – nothing really’, I will think you’re a disgrace.

#1 – Your references say you sucked

Image Credit: clockworktalent.com

Image Credit: clockworktalent.com

It’s not a difficult concept. When you give references, tell them in advance, and make sure those people are going to give you good references in the event that they’re called and quizzed about your work ethic.

If I call your references and they’re not absolutely gutted about losing you as an employee, or they’re not singing your praises from the rooftops as if you’re the human version of God – I’ll be suspicious.

If all goes well – I’ll offer you the job. But don’t annoy me and make me regret giving the job – because I will absolutely fire your ass.

Author

Nabeel Ahmad is the founder and editor-in-chief of Lone Mind. Apart from Lone Mind, he is a serial entrepreneur, and has founded multiple successful companies in different industries.

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