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Posted: June 24, 2014

Five ways to ensure you don’t get hired

Avoid these if you want the job

Shawna Simcik

Due to the nature of our business, I am asked quite often to network with job seekers and I am amazed at the choices (or lack thereof) that people make when it comes to presenting themselves as a worthy job applicant. From these stories, I was inspired to share with you the top five things you can do to ensure that you won’t get hired. 

  1. Sit behind your computer – The “open” job market (such as internet job boards), where most people spend their time, accounts for only 25 to 30 percent of the available jobs.  No wonder you can’t find a job – you are only tapping into one-third of the job market. So, go ahead sit there and keep hitting submit. This type of reactive search, alone in your house, can lead to symptoms of depression, loneliness and increased feelings of rejection. Get out and network! Networking is developing and utilizing a support system of people who know you, believe in you and naturally think of you when they come upon opportunities, leads or tips that might move you closer to your goal. This is by far the most valuable way to let others know you are in the job market and available.
  1. Submit a generic resume – Go ahead use that generic resume template that you found online and don’t take the time to tailor it to the position or company in which you are applying. If you are just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks, this should work. There are three ways to ensure that this important marketing material serves its purpose.
    1. Write a summary statement that means something. My favorite line is, “An energetic team player with exceptional communication and interpersonal skills.” Really? Well, you and everyone else. Get original! Use this valuable real estate on the resume to differentiate yourself and describe your true attributes. For example: “Enthusiastic Human Resources professional with a knack for innovative approaches to conventional practices. Thrives in high performance cultures that have goal driven projects and where changes are seen as enhancements.
    2. Spelling and grammar count. Period. Read over your resume and then read it again. Have a friend proofread it. Not only will bad spelling and grammar automatically disqualify you from the competition, but it will look like you don’t care.
    3. Tailor key words in your resume to the role and company. It stuns me the number of people that submit a resume for a position with no mention of the words used in the job title, company or job description. “Oh, I applied for an operations manager role” Yet, the words ‘operations’ or ‘manager’ do not appear at all in the resume text. Oh, you are definitely qualified.

If you are actually applying for jobs in which you are qualified to do and want to do, tailoring your resume shouldn’t be a problem.

  1. Overlook the cover letter – Ah, the dreaded cover letter. Is it really necessary? My answer: Some recruiters and hiring managers want it, look at it and demand it – others could care less. So play the odds, gamble and don’t submit the cover letter; that is, if you want to give them a reason to disqualify you. Cover letters are an excellent opportunity to overcome objections, such as a gap in your employment history, a fabulous demonstration of your writing skills and a place to demonstrate your passion for the company, role and/or the industry.
  1. Come unprepared for the interview – As you’ll be one of many applying for the position, hold back and don’t do your research.  You cannot afford to hold anything back! Be punctual and look tidy. Show enthusiasm and awareness about the job and the aims of the company. Do your research, this means well beyond the website. Talk to others who work at the company, check out their Facebook and Twitter pages, visit a branch or satellite office.
  1. Don’t send the Thank you Note/Email – Thank you notes are really outdated – why waste the postage. Sure, if you don’t want to get a call back. A thank you letter demonstrates a gracious gesture, and reminds the interviewer of you and offers you the opportunity to remind the interviewer of important information about you. You would be surprised at the number of people who don’t write a thank you note or email; by simply doing this you are putting yourself at a huge advantage.

Remember, recruiters and hiring managers are looking for ways to exclude you, not include you. It is an extremely competitive job market and recruiters receive hundreds, sometimes thousands of resumes for one job posting. You have to stand out to be considered!

Shawna Simcik, MA, CMP is genuinely passionate about utilizing innovative resources and market knowledge to drive organizational, career and individual excellence. As President of Business Leadership for a fast-growing, certified Woman Owned Business, Shawna specializes in Executive Recruiting, Leadership Development and Career Transition. Reach her at. or  To learn more, follow her at @shawna_icc or contact her at 303-865-4400.


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Readers Respond

Thanks for the comment and read, David. The smallest gestures can make the biggest impact! By Shawna Simcik on 2014 06 24
Great advice. In fact, if I have 2 candidates who are qualified for a role on my PR team, the one who sent the hand written thank you note almost always gets the job! It demonstrates good character. I want to work with good people. By David on 2014 06 24
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