Posts filed under ‘Cover Letters’

How to Screw Up Your Resume So You Won’t Get the Job

resumesOver on the Greyzone blog, the inimitable Tami Palmer, (Colorado’s Job Search Coach, Career Mentor, Author and Donut Girl), has just penned a useful article on How to Screw Up Your Resume So You Won’t Get the Job. Actually, since Tami is a gentle, positive, and encouraging soul, she doesn’t put it that way. Instead, she titled her article You Have 7 Seconds to Turn Your Resume from a ‘No’ into a ‘Yes’. In it, she writes:

Did you know that the average resumé is looked at for seven seconds? Yes, only seven seconds. Based on my own experience as a recruiter, I think that’s actually generous, as the time is often even less

( I agree 100%, Tami!)

Recently, Tami has been supporting one of her clients by reading resumes and sorting them into Yes/No/Maybe folders. This is a worthy task for any recruiter. The chance to skim a bulk volume of bad resumes inspired Tami to write her story.

Tami shares four techniques for How Not to Get a Job – Make sure your resume has:

  • No relevant career experience in the field/role.
  • A career path not aligned with company or role.
  • A cover letter addressed to wrong company.
  • Not shared necessary details.

Tami did a good job of covering the basics. NotJobs readers may remember a few other ideas on how to blow it:

Please see the full text of Tami’s article. She’s offered some good advice.

Noon Update: fixed the broken links!

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5 March 2014 at 12:42AM Leave a comment

Man Confidently Hits ‘Send’ On Worst Job Application Company Has Ever Seen

Resumes for DummiesAfter a quick yet confident once-over that unfortunately caught none of the rampant spelling errors, clunky prose, and overly casual language throughout his cover letter and résumé, job hopeful Mark Lopez hit “send” on the worst application California-based marketing firm Precision Intermedia has ever seen, sources confirmed Monday.

No – this isn’t from CTRN, ERE.net or SHRM, but it could be. In another “ha ha fiction funny but true” article, America’s Finest News Source The Onion delivers a great example of How Not to Get a Job. This is spot on satire that many of my recruiter buddies could have written. Check out the entire insightful but brief piece here:
http://www.theonion.com/articles/man-confidently-hits-send-on-worst-job-application,34716/

In this short masterpiece, the careless actions of applicant Mark Lopez result in a resume that becomes the one that HR says is “going up on the bulletin board.”

It could be that Lopez was practicing the NotJobs blog wisdom shared in last April’s popular infographic:
https://notjobs.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/infographic-why-resumes-are-rejected/

Or it could be that this applicant comes by these skills naturally. Many people do.

9 January 2014 at 1:00AM Leave a comment

NotJobs: Repetition as the Root of Insanity

A little bit of advice for the applicants who continue to submit the same resume/cover letter/application to the same company time after time after time.

always-do-flowchart

If it didn’t get you an interview last time, what makes you think that it will get you an interview this time?

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.

This type of job search action usually indicates a desperate but lazy job seeker. “Desperate” because they are obviously making an effort to find different employment. “Lazy” because it looks like they can’t be bothered to take even a few minutes to update the information they submit.

Perhaps the good Doctor said it best:

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The tips and take-aways are, “Always update your personal information, resume and other job search weapons, before submitting to a job opening.”

27 April 2013 at 12:38AM Leave a comment

An Actual Cover Letter (unedited)

It pays to be careful with your cover letter. Included below is an actual and complete text of a cover letter received a while back by a recruiter friend who does not work for a school district or educational concern. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Don’t do this.


To Whom It May Concern:

My name is FIRSTNAME LASTNAME and I am an educator with 15 years experience. I have experience as a Spanish Translator, a Tutor and an ESL Assistant. I have lived, worked and studied in Spain , Honduras , Guatemala , Ecuador and Mexico . My passions are education, working with students/children of all ages/grades and languages. I have an very compassionate, bubbly and outgoing personality. I would be an great access to your school district.

Thank you,

FIRSTNAME LASTNAME

24 August 2012 at 12:52AM Leave a comment

Thinking Blonde: How Not to Get a Job as a Tutor

Natali, the Thinking Blonde

Natali, the Thinking Blonde

Natali is the Thinking Blonde, and she’s also hiring for tutors:

Every year, around this time, I recruit for some new blood on my team of tutors. This year is no different, and this week, as I screen resumes I am reminded once again of how many people are so poorly prepared to apply for jobs. I’m not sure if this is a failure on the part of high school “career” classes or parents not teaching their kids this necessary skill… but it is sorely lacking, at least from what I am seeing, OVER and OVER again.

Natali – I agree. That’s why I started this blog!

Natali goes on to list her top 10 faux pas committed by people in their applications or  interviews. Here are my favorites:

2. Read the position posting carefully. If you ask me questions that are clearly answered by my posting, I am getting the impression that you are careless or don’t pay attention.
3. If you are relatively young or relatively inexperienced, I’d rather you have a shorter, well written resume with a nice cover letter than one you are trying to pad with things that are mostly irrelevant, such as your experiences in junior high cheerleading and playing softball.
9. Follow directions. If the ad you are responding to says, to apply, send your resume and cover letter, and then goes ON to say, cover letters are required for consideration – and then you STILL just send a resume – I have ZERO faith you will follow instructions on the job.

Great points – especially the last one.  In my experience, application instructions are hints from the staff about how to successfully complete the process, not a challenge to be mastered and overcome.

Natali – thanks for sharing your wisdom. I encourage everyone to go see the whole thing, which can be found here:
http://onmywaythere-nc.blogspot.com/2009/09/applying-for-job-101.html

2. Read the position posting carefully. If you ask me questions that are clearly answered by my posting, I am getting the impression that you are careless or don’t pay attention.
3. If you are relatively young or relatively inexperienced, I’d rather you have a shorter, well written resume with a nice cover letter than one you are trying to pad with things that are mostly irrelevant, such as your experiences in junior high cheerleading and playing softball.

9. Follow directions. If the ad you are responding to says, to apply, send your resume and cover letter, and then goes ON to say, cover letters are required for consideration- and then you STILL just send a resume- I have ZERO faith you will follow instructions on the job.2. Read the position posting carefully. If you ask me questions that are clearly answered by my posting, I am getting the impression that you are careless or don’t pay attention.
3. If you are relatively young or relatively inexperienced, I’d rather you have a shorter, well written resume with a nice cover letter than one you are trying to pad with things that are mostly irrelevant, such as your experiences in junior high cheerleading and playing softball.

9. Follow directions. If the ad you are responding to says, to apply, send your resume and cover letter, and then goes ON to say, cover letters are required for consideration- and then you STILL just send a resume- I have ZERO faith you will follow instructions on the job.

2 October 2009 at 12:05AM Leave a comment

NotJobs: How NOT to get that attorney job

But then I realized that I was not applying to a stuffy ass federal prosecutor or corporate law job…

Thanks to Eagle I On-line, here are some humorous examples of bad cover letter text from aspiring lawyers. Susan Gainen at University of Minnesota Law School’s Career & Professional Development Blog published these actual errors from last year’s job seekers:

  1. Trial advocacy and the defense of the indignant are the two primary forces behind my study of the law.
  2. I would appreciate an opportunity to discuss my qualifications and how foregoing a relationship would be mutually beneficial.
  3. If assiduousness and passion were candy, then I would leave you with a mouthful of cavities.
  4. My anal retentiveness to minute details is quite possibly one of my greatest strengths, not withstanding my sense of humor.
  5. As an inspiring defense attorney, I am particularly interested in working with the Public Defender Service.

She also notes that one shouldn’t walk in to the Hiring Partner’s office and say “I’d like to work here for a couple of years and then decide what I really want to do.”

See the whole sordid mess here.

30 March 2009 at 9:07AM Leave a comment

Must see site: NotHired

The NotHired site is a hoot! NotHired is run by “a dedicated group of HR monkeys and hiring managers” who “see thousands of cover letters and resumes every month. Some of them desperately need to be shared.” They’ve listed many great examples of horrible cover letters and resumes. Their site is “Dedicated to all those who wonder why no one has called to set up an interview…”

Here’s the best of the worst:

Hello,
I don’t know Craig personally, but my friend told me about his list and I saw your job on there.

The NotHired authors point out this message came from an AOL address.


Update 25 January 2012: Unfortunately, the Nothired site has died. You can see a Twitter feed here, and a Facebook page here. Neither has been updated since 2010.

30 March 2008 at 9:35PM 1 comment

Older Posts


My Core Ideas

1. "I can't tell you the best way to get a job - because there is no one best way. After 21 years of recruiting, I CAN share things I've seen candidates do to guarantee they DIDN'T get the job."

2. "Most companies don't realize how their recruiting process impacts their candidate pool, and their business. Attention to simple things will result in big improvements."

About the Author

Troy Bettinger, SPHR is a Denver Recruiter, Public Speaker, HR Metrics Analyst and Human Resources Leader who has been recruiting in corporate and municipal environments since 1991.

He specializes in the complete hiring process: defining, sourcing, recruiting, testing, interviewing, offering and orienting new hires. He's also well versed in strategic human resources, college recruiting, diversity recruiting, AAP, EEO, ATS integration, recruiting metrics, social media, recruiting leadership, training and employment branding.

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