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Don't just claim it, prove your attention to detail in your job search

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Wow. I recently posted a help wanted ad on Craig’s List for a client of mine; two days later we had over 200 responses, and this was for a part time position. Even more stunning, after an assortment of circumstances put scheduling interviews on the back burner for a month, five of the top six candidates were still available.

The moral to this? The job market is still pretty weak, so putting you best foot forward at the initial point of contact is more than a little important when applying for jobs, at least if you have any interest in landing the job you just applied for.

OK, you know all about typos, right? As in, double checking you cover letter and your resume to make sure none of those annoying little buggers have crept in? It’s important, because when a resume stack is taller than Mt. Everest, it doesn’t take much to get yours eliminated. One typo can do it; but two, three, or four of them? You are most definitely done.

And now a note about reading comprehension. Here’s the rule: read the job posting in detail before you apply, and make sure you pay attention to what it says. Here’s why: We listed wages in our job posting, but had numerous people ask us to get back to them with how much the job paid. We also clearly posted the job as being part time, but a lot of applicants specified they were seeking full time employment. The list went on from there, but you get the idea. Every single one of these people were eliminated on the spot. Why? Because if you don’t pay attention before you get the job, why will an employer think you’ll suddenly start paying attention after you get the job? Those resumes never got read; the cover letter alone eliminated them.

And lastly, don’t waste the company’s (or your) time by applying for a job you are clearly unqualified for. For example, being a successful “nail artist” (think fancy fingernail paint) for the last ten years is not what a reviewer is looking for when the open position is in the accounting department. And if your job is quite different from the one that’s available, but the required skill set is used in both – spell that out in your cover letter. Don’t assume the reviewer is going to make that leap on their own. Face facts, people; with hundreds of resumes to get through, they don’t have time or the need to read between the lines.

The point to all this? With the job market still softer than a fluffy little kitten, why put obstacles in your own way? When hundreds of resumes are sitting in front of them, reviewers are looking to thin the herd. Typos, asking questions that have already been answered, and applying for jobs you have zero qualifications for are a guaranteed ticket to the See Ya’ Stack.

And unless you’re just going through the motions in order to retain your unemployment eligibility, no one wants their resume to go to the See Ya’ Stack.

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