An actual email from a dear friend of mine, who happens to be the Executive VP of Human Resources for a thriving global corporation. Allow this to serve as a straight-from-the-horse's-mouth (dear friend, I am so not calling you a horse!) lesson on what not to do when you apply for positions via online application processes.
J-Fo (yes, some call me J-Fo),
Yes, it’s 2:16 a.m. ET.
I’ve just reviewed about 75 resumes in my ATS (applicant tracking system) and I just have to share my official TOP 10 Ways to Get Blacklisted by an Employer . . . Forever!
- Apply for EVERY opening when you are qualified for none of them.
- Claim to be a skilled writer and have 3 or more typos and grammatical errors in your resume.
- Claim to be a skilled anything and misspell the occupation.
- Claim to be skilled at something for which you list NO job-related experience.
- Apply for a job and request a six figure salary; submit a resume showing two years of Taco Bell experience as the entirety of your professional experience.
- Claim to have a degree from a university, and then misspell the university AND the word "bachelor."
- Write a cover letter that's totally unrelated to anything about your experience, but do share your summer studies in France experience ... and your desire to write a teleplay.
- Apply for a job for which you obviously haven’t read the essential functions or qualifications.
- Apply for a job for which you obviously haven’t read the essential functions or qualifications. (This one makes me so angry that it's worth two entries on this list.)
- Apply for a job for which you DID read the essential functions or qualifications, but don’t qualify to do. Do you believe that by some Jedi mind trick you will earn you a phone screen?
* end of email *
So what can we take away from this late night email from a frazzled HR leader?
- HR leaders are burning the midnight oil, plowing through resumes, in search of the diamond in the pile.
- HR leaders actually ARE reviewing your resumes (a good sign!)
- HR leaders greatly enjoy finding the true standout in that 75-resume pile.
- HR leaders really, truly dislike staying up until 2:15 a.m. reviewing resumes of unqualified, uninspiring or lazy job seekers.
Be the standout in a good way, not in a "you just got yourself blacklisted, dummy" way.
This is your career, this is your life. Treat your job search accordingly.