10 ways to get yourself blacklisted by a potential employer

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!

  1. Apply for EVERY opening when you are qualified for none of them.
  2. Claim to be a skilled writer and have 3 or more typos and grammatical errors in your resume.
  3. Claim to be a skilled anything and misspell the occupation.
  4. Claim to be skilled at something for which you list NO job-related experience.
  5. 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.
  6. Claim to have a degree from a university, and then misspell the university AND the word "bachelor."
  7. 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.
  8. Apply for a job for which you obviously haven’t read the essential functions or qualifications. 
  9. 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.)
  10. 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?

  1. HR leaders are burning the midnight oil, plowing through resumes, in search of the diamond in the pile.
  2. HR leaders actually ARE reviewing your resumes (a good sign!)
  3. HR leaders greatly enjoy finding the true standout in that 75-resume pile.
  4. HR leaders really, truly dislike staying up until 2:15 a.m. reviewing resumes of unqualified, uninspiring or lazy job seekers.

Be inspiring.

Be strategic.

Be meticulous.

Be qualified.

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.