First impressions are worth everything, especially when searching for a new job and you’re working with a recruiter. HR professionals and recruiters are very busy. Here’s a list of things you can do to make their job easier and help yourself to stand out in the crowd. We also included a list of things to avoid, too.
Top Candidate Do’s
- Thank You Note Nothing gets a recruiter’s, or HR director’s attention quicker than a nice, hand written thank you note. Your card will immediately separate you from other candidates. Yes, an emails, while not as ‘special’, is acceptable.
- Follow up Most employers/recruiters will keep your information on file for 12 months, yet most in-house systems aren’t sophisticated enough to continually match up your skills with possible new openings. A follow-up note 3 months after an initial resume submission (assuming you had no intervening contact, interview, etc) is always a good idea.
- Contact information Your resume must contain a working phone number, and proper legal name. Also be sure to include a professional email address set up just to receive job inquiries.
- Dress for success Regardless of the dress code of a company, interviews are ALWAYS business formal. Men, a clean, pressed suit and tie is always acceptable. Women, skirts, blouses and blazers are always a good option. In addition, women, always wear hosiery and closed-toe shoes.
- Go above and beyond. It’s a competitive world out there A recruiter or potential employer has but a few short minutes on the phone, or an hour or two during an interview to form an opinion about you. Use every opportunity to outshine other candidates. Be proactive. Ask beforehand what they would like you to bring to the interview, and follow through. Always bring several clean copies of your resume and references to leave behind.
- Social media If you’re using social media as a networking tool, good for you. However, if you’re using them for silly, infantile profanity, and post college beer talk, remember that recruiters and potential employers will look at your personal pages. Make sure either your privacy settings are established or you only post information you wouldn’t be embarrassed if your employer read.
- Contact information Don’t leave important information off your resume. Your resume must contain a working phone number, and proper legal name. . Also be sure to include a professional email address set up just to receive job inquiries.
- Spelling and Grammatical errors First impressions are key. Spelling and grammar errors on your resume are a red flag for employers. Always have someone else read over your resume before you send it out.
- Applying multiple times, or losing track of where you applied Keep a detailed list of the places you have applied and be prepared to give complete, concise answers when asked about your job search efforts. This information will be helpful to recruiters so they don’t supplicate your efforts.
- Functional resumes See our sample resume under the Job Seeker Resources link for an example of a working, functional resume. If you’re unsure of where to begin with your resume, model it after this sample.
- Use Keywords If you haven’t had formal training on a subject or tool, or used it formally in the work force for at least 3 months, it doesn’t belong on your resume. Keep your resume simple, clean, and on topic.
- Read the Ad Only submit your resume for positions you are truly qualified for. Remember you’re looking for a career, not just a job.
- Personal information Personal information doesn’t belong on the resume. Marital status, political convictions, religious leanings, are all items that are best left off the resume and out of career discussions.
- Voicemail greetings Unless you’re sitting by your phone 24/7, chances are recruiters and employers will get your voice mail or answering machine greeting. Listen to it again and make sure it’s appropriate to the purpose.
- Email signatures Make sure your email contains a signature with your phone numbers, email address, and other contact info. Like you, recruiters and employers are mobile, on the go people, and we aren’t always getting our email sitting at our desk, with full access to all of our systems, and files. We might just want to make a quick call to you, and a phone number in your signature line, might just get you that job quicker than you think.
Top Candidate Dont’s
- Don’t make your interviewer work for it In the course of one day, most busy recruiters will talk to hundreds of candidates. If we email you and ask to see your resume, or for additional information, answer the questions, or send us what we asked for. Don’t send an automated link to a site where we can download a resume.
- Cell phone Turn it off. Leave it in the car. Don’t set it to vibrate. Just don’t bring it on the interview. Period.
- Arriving on time Be prompt. Not sure where you’re going? Drive there the day before, or plan to arrive very, very early, and grab a coffee around the corner while you wait until it is appropriate to go in the offices. In general, 10-15 minutes early is when you want to arrive for your interview. Many companies consider showing up with less than 5 minutes to spare late, and being more than 20 minutes early is considered inappropriate.