Are you sabotaging your job applications?

Clients come to their consult with me armed with certificates, cards, licences and copies of old resumes. Some are on the ball and all documents are current. Others are disorganised, expired material mixed in with current so they take some sorting out. Also, various certificates and cards can be missing altogether! Confusion reigns. Anxiety can arise when I suggest destroying old documents and cards. I can understand that, for some they represent a part of their working life and memories. What concerns me is the risk. How often is expired material submitted by mistake, consequently sabotaging a job application?

So what to do? Here are my thoughts …

  • Gather up every document old and new, sit yourself down at a table and sort them into separate piles, one pile for current and one for expired. Make sure you include all your cards.
  • Check all possible places where you may have put anything relevant, e.g., your wallet or the dashboard of your ute (yes people do file them there)!
  • Check all dates thoroughly.
  • If you can’t bring yourself to destroy the old copies, file them in a plastic pocket, place in a Manilla folder and file them far, far away from your current documents and cards.
  • Scan the current documents and cards (back and front for cards) and save them into a computer file which includes your name in the file name.

You are now ready to make job applications confident that all documentation surrounding qualifications, tickets and licences are current.

More on Speculative Cover Letters

Given the current climate in the job market, I thought I would revisit a previous post on Speculative Cover Letters with an added suggestion to what is already there. As well as searching job advertisements for clues to what potential employers are looking for, it would also be useful to visit the website of the company you are applying to. Take a look at their values, their mission statement, how they say they operate and speak to that in your cover letter, e.g. if safety is one of their stated values and you have been part of a team that achieved a safety award, include that in your letter.

Referee Details in Short Term Employment

If you are person who is working shutdowns, contract or project roles, often your referees are supervisors from each position worked. These supervisors are usually in the same situation as you, on a shutdown, contract or project, and just like you they move on when the job is complete. Some of them have company email addresses or mobile phones issued just for the duration of the gig. If you are not keeping in touch and checking details of your referees in this environment, then you are probably sabotaging your job applications as a prospective employer / recruiter will be unable to contact your referee. For each job you apply for, check that your referees are still working where you last had contact with them. If they have moved on to a new role and you want to show how you are linked to them, you can add a line to your resume that states they were (formerly the …….), so the employer /recruiter will be able to map the connection.

Meeting Selection Criteria

When choosing jobs to apply for, focus on job ads where you meet 70-80% or more of the selection criteria. To do otherwise is a waste of energy and most likely sets you up for disappointment. Repeat disappointments may lead to feeling demoralised, to the point of giving up or not caring. Take care of yourself and maintain focus on those jobs where you have the best chance of success.

A note on referees

Just a reminder – it’s a good idea to stay in touch with your referees, often, at least every three months and let them know what you are up to.  When asked if your referee’s telephone number is current, could you answer the question with certainty? Do you know where they are currently working?  If your answer is no, you have just sabotaged your application.  Maintain a conversation with your referees, it’s worth it!

Cover Letter Tip

When writing cover letters in response to advertised jobs, the most important thing to remember is to respond to the stated selection criteria.  One way to maintain your focus to ensure you do this is to type the selection criteria into your letter document in bold.  Once you have completed your letter, you just delete the selection criteria headings out of your document.   Makes it so much easier to stay on track.

Resumes – Word or pdf Format?

Some debate exists around whether you should submit your resume in word or pdf format when applying online.  My contribution to the debate is, read the job advertisement thoroughly.  A significant number of ads state that your resume should be submitted in word format only.  This is one of a number of costly mistakes people make when applying for jobs.  If you are not submitting your resume in the requested format, not reading all of the material provided, not following the specified application instructions, or not downloading or requesting the position description, you are sabotaging your chances of success.

What do you not do, that you should be doing when applying for jobs?