While it’s incredibly important to do the right things in a job search, you also need to make sure you avoid doing the wrong things.
One of my favorite questions to ask recruiters is, “What are your biggest pet peeves about entry-level job candidates?” Below are some of the answers I’ve received. Hopefully this list will save you from committing any major faux pas!
- “Creative” resumes. I know you want to stand out from the crowd, but a perfumed, purple or paper airplane-shaped resume is not the way to do it.
- Not doing your homework. We live in the Information Age, so there is no excuse for not learning as much information about a company as possible before meeting a representative of that company at a job fair, information session or other recruiting event. You should already know the organization’s lines of business, competitors, current news and other facts you can easily discover from a website or a quick Google search. Asking a recruiter to tell you about his organization or asking what the company does is a quick way to strike out.
- Texting. Even if a recruiter’s mobile phone number appears on her business card or email signature, do not use it to text. Although texting is super-efficient, it’s way too personal for the recruiter-candidate relationship. By the way, the same goes for friending on Facebook.
- “Just following up.” There is a fine line between appropriate persistence and pointless pestering. It is absolutely fine to call or email a recruiter to say thank you for a company information session, to ask a few questions or to mention that you’ll be attending another event they are hosting. But “Just calling to follow up!” doesn’t add much to your candidacy. If you find yourself calling multiple times with no response, you may have to accept the fact that, as the famous dating book title says, this particular employer is just not that into you.
- Asking for too much too soon. I’m always shocked when recruiters tell me about college students and recent grads who ask multiple questions about bonuses, vacation time, perks and flexible hours before they’ve worked a day. I’m all for smart negotiation, but don’t let your ambition tip over into entitlement.
What other mistakes have you seen young professionals make? Share in the comments and save your fellow readers from major mistakes!