I Pity the Fool...ish Mistakes that Cost You the Job

When faced with a large applicant pool, employers often search for any reason possible to eliminate candidates and narrow the group. Even extremely qualified candidates can be overlooked for committing seemingly small mistakes. The list of potential blunders is long but here are 3 easy ones to avoid in your own job search.

Basic Resume Errors
Technology can be both your friend and your enemy when searching for a job. Leverage this “frenemy” for good by making use of spell check before finalizing and sending in your resume. Remember that spell check will not catch all errors including homonyms (i.e. their, they’re and there) and spelling mistakes in ALL CAPS type (i.e. ACTIVITES). Also, when updating your previous job descriptions, read through each statement carefully to ensure that all verbs are changed to past tense (i.e. Communicated effectively with customers and provide efficient and friendly service). Ask career counselors, peer advisors, professors, friends and family to review your resume so that simple mistakes don’t slip through the cracks.

Applying for Anything and Everything
It may take many casts to catch a fish, but if you aren't throwing your net in the right spot you’ll be going home empty handed every time. When looking for a job, be strategic in identifying the positions that fit your skills, education and experience as well as the companies that offer the type of culture you desire. Read each job description carefully before applying and look for opportunities to highlight your best qualifications in your resume and cover letter. Meet with a peer advisor or career counselor make sure that your marketing materials are tailored to each position and to learn about methods for finding positions that fit your individual background and career goals.

A Flat Interview
By the time an employer invites you to interview for a position, they probably have a pretty good feeling that you have the skills, education and experience needed to perform the daily tasks required of the job. A big part of the interview process is showing the employer that you will fit with her company culture. Sadly, when many job seekers are thrust into the nerve wracking situation that is the interview, their typically engaging personality succumbs to jitters and an intense focus on both answering the questions well and appearing composed and professional. Though strong interview responses and professionalism should not be neglected in the interview setting, fight back the urge to let them overtake your enthusiasm and spirit. Infuse your professional and thorough responses with your personality and show the employer that you will fit in well with her team. Practice your interview skills using InterviewStream or sign up for a mock interview with a career counselor.

“A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether.” – Roy H. Williams