First impressions on a job interview are not just about your attire. How you dress is very important and you should always dress for the job that you are interviewing for, but your first impression is made as soon as you apply for the opportunity. As a Talent Acquisition professional I am always reviewing resumes, conducting interviews and processing applications. Far too often I see simple to dire mistakes made by an applicant that forbid them from getting an opportunity to interview. Here are few… “Please don’t make these mistakes if you are serious about obtaining an interview or the job”. (All examples are from actual candidates.)
Spelling errors show a few things about the candidate! You did not review what you wrote, you ignore the handy dandy spell-check tool or you rely on auto-correct rather than yourself and a dictionary.
I hope there is not a degree that teaches anyone to manage their bias. A bias can be favorable or unfavorable, but there is no university or college that offers a degree in it. This applicant may have let the auto-correct work on their behalf, which probably meant the original word was spelled wrong. At LG Human Capital Solutions we always advise candidates to use spell check while developing their resume, but then go back and review it again and then again. You can even let another person look over it to ensure you did not miss any common spelling errors.
Grammar is not just important in English class. As a former teacher I learned early in my career that many people write just how they speak. This may be alright when you are writing a personal note to a friend, but when it comes to your career or job search this is a bad habit.
Many employers have begun to include open-ended questions or short essay responses on their applications. This is an exercise to evaluate how well a person writes. Communications are essential in today’s workforce especially with the increase in email use. Many may argue that written communication is taking away from face-to face interaction, but the reality is that written responses are still a huge part of business and how you write reflects how others will view you as a potential employee.
Cover Letters are an important part of the hiring process. There are some companies that will require your resume to be accompanied by a cover letter. Spelling, grammar and content are assessed in your cover letter but being conscientious about who the letter is addressed to can make or break your chances of getting an opportunity to interview.
We are always taught to not try and reinvent the wheel, but we are also taught to develop a cover letter that reflects your experience but is tailored to the job you want. Your cover letter should be succinct and provide a clear snapshot of who you are. You do not want this introduction of you to be one of laziness, unprofessional or not that interested in the opportunity.
Remember: First impressions are lasting impressions and the only “first” you will get to either move forward in the hiring process or become one of the many rejected candidates. Make it count! Show your best before, during and after the interview process.