Posts filed under ‘Tips’

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!

5 March 2014 at 12:42AM Leave a comment

How NOT to get a job at a busy hospital

Over at the Being Veruca blog, healthcare professional/respiratory therapist Mommy A has a description of how a desperate job seeker interrupted her lifesaving work to ask pointless questions.This leads to her posting on How Not to Get a Job.

First, let her set the scene:

It is 3 AM. I have been busy as all hell because A) people keep trying to die in the hospital and we have had more codes than I thought possible in one shift. And I have the main ICU.

Tip: Don’t call the busy ICU floor in the middle of the night if you’re looking for a job. The conversation could go like this:

Moron:”How many patients do you have? Right. now. How many units of the hospital are you covering? And how many therapists do you have there tonight?”

Me: “Well, we have 4, which is standard at night. I have the MICU, and I am covering all of the patients in that unit. There are 10 ventilators running up there right now and…..”

Moron: “OH MY GOD! Do they always work you like that??? I heard they did. I work at XXXXX now and I only have 2 treatments to give before 8 in the morning. That’s what I’m used to. I don’t like to work a lot. Or very hard. Ewwww. And a ventilator? I hate running vents. I haven’t run a vent in 10 years.”

Me: “Ummmm, we are usually pretty busy here. And since there are only 4 therapists in house at night, all of us may be asked to handle a vent or an intubation, even if we aren’t assigned to an ICU…” (Okay, now I think I may be being punk’d. Where’s Ashton?)

Moron: “Whatever, I guess I can try it. Where do I fill out an application?”

I had to give her the website where she can apply online. And I had to tell my boss this morning that if anyone calls who works at that hospital, to please not hire them. Who? Who really tries to get a job like that? Especially in our current day where even healthcare professionals are having difficulties finding jobs. I mean, when I applied for my current position, I called. But when I called, I spoke with the director of my department and simply asked, in a polite tone, if they had any available positions for a registered therapist. He asked me a few questions about my experience, and before I had even completed an application, HR had called me to schedule an interview. I actually completed the application and submitted my resume at my interview. But I was polite. And professional. And was eager to work. And motivated. Really.

Notice Mommy A’s reaction: She told her boss not to hire. Her call is a better model for getting a job in a busy hospital.

24 May 2011 at 10:39PM Leave a comment

Remember: Beware the Receptionist Test

The most popular post on this blog is one from 2008 about how candidates fail the Receptionist Test. It happens all the time.

The Receptionist Test is an unexpected assessment of how the candidate deals with ordinary staff during the interview. It is effective because it is unexpected. The key point to remember about the Receptionist Test is:

…your interview starts as soon as you enter the building. Companies can (and will) use every means to make sure that  you are the best qualified person for the role.

On his great blog about leadership, thoughtLEADERS, Mike Figliuolo confirms a time when a “sure thing” candidate failed the Receptionist Test:

When I was a consultant, we regularly interviewed a slew of candidates on Fridays. The first person they met was the receptionist. From there, they’d interview with eight or nine of us and we’d hold a “consensus meeting” at the end of the day to determine if we were going to make a job offer.

One exceptional candidate (let’s call him “Bill”) did an amazing job in all eight of his interviews. He was brilliant, charming, and energetic. All of us were excited about him as we entered the consensus meeting. Some of us were already fighting over who would get him on their team first. As we discussed his glowing performance, it was abundantly clear we’d be making him an offer. We prepared to close the discussion and asked “Does anyone else have anything to offer on Bill?”

“I do.”

“Go ahead.” said the meeting moderator.

“When he came in, I was on the phone. He tapped his pen impatiently on my desk indicating I should stop talking on the phone and help him. I asked my caller, who happened to be the office director, to wait a moment. The conversation then went like this:”

“Can I help you?”

“Yeah. I’m here to interview. Don’t you know who I am?”

“I’m sorry sir. I don’t.”

“Geez. Look in your paperwork. Bill. Bill Farfegnugen. Isn’t it your job to receive guests properly?”

“Yes. Please have a seat. They’ll be with you shortly.”

“Aren’t you going to take my coat and get me a cup of coffee?”

“Sure. I’d be happy to. Cream and sugar?”


“After I got him his coffee, I showed him to his first interview. I’m sorry but I simply can’t see this guy in front of our clients. I can’t recall the last time someone was that rude to me.”

Needless to say, Bill didn’t get a job offer. He probably wonders why not to this very day because he knew he smoked his interviews. Hey Bill – news flash – she’s not just a receptionist… Her name is Lois and she takes really good care of the people around her. Had you done the same, you might have gotten the job.

Read the entire posting here:
Also – see the original Receptionist Test post:

23 April 2011 at 12:29PM 1 comment

Communication Hygiene Pays

1937 TelephoneJust a quick note: A sure way NOT to get a job is poor communication hygiene. What is communication hygiene? Simply put, it is making yourself easy and pleasant to contact.

Here’s how to build a communication hygiene strategy that pays:

  • If you are job hunting, make it a job. You wouldn’t go ten days at work without checking your e-mail. Check your job search e-mail account at least daily.
  • Don’t complain to your recruiter because you didn’t check your job search e-mail.
  • Make sure your mailbox will accept mail. If your mailbox is full, my message to you will bounce.
  • Check your voice mail. As a recruiter, I have been known to leave detailed phone messages with specific instructions. Imagine what you look like when you call back two hours later, but haven’t listened to my message. Saying, “I saw a number with your organization, so I called…” isn’t enough.
  • It doesn’t matter if you have ten different phone numbers. I don’t need ten different phone numbers. One working phone number with one working voice mailbox works for me.
  • We live in the 21st Century. Not having a working voice mailbox is so 20th century. Yes, it makes you look dumb.
  • If you leave a voice message for me, make it useful. If nothing else, make sure I have your name, the position, and a way to reach you.
  • A few tips additional voice mail tips are here:
    Tip: How to Leave a Voice Mail Message
  • Make sure you sound like someone I’d want to work with. Profanity and hostility have no place in a conversation with a recruiter.

30 January 2011 at 10:26PM 1 comment

Baumann: “Be Prepared: Is It YOUR Motto?”

One of the secrets of writing is developing a good hook. Kirk Baumann has a great post with a great hook, and some pretty good advice for the job seeker. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s the Boy Scouts motto. It’s what your teachers, your mom and dad have been telling you all your life. But, are you really prepared? Prepared for anything?? Are you prepared to take on the career search, pass the screenings, ace the interview and land the job?

In the job search and life in general, preparedness can put a person ahead of the game. Here are a few tips on you can prepare for whatever may come your way in your search for employment:

  • Do your homework.
  • Know them better than they know themselves.
  • Wow them.
  • Follow up, follow up, FOLLOW UP!

See the whole article here:

Thanks, Kirk!

8 September 2010 at 12:16AM Leave a comment

NotJobs: Little Bear, Big Sky

Clare Cady at Little Bear, Big Sky has post about How Not to Get a Job. First, she lists her hiring credentials:

i can’t put a number on the amount of interviews i’ve done in these 9 years, but i’d wager its well into the high hundreds.

Cady then lists some wisdom based on some of her interview encounters. Here are a few of them (capitalization per the original):

  • though its nice that you have hobbies, i don’t think that ‘adult magazine collector’ is something you want to advertise to your future employer – unless you are applying to work for larry flint. i am not larry flint – i am less lecherous and female.
  • i also don’t recommend including history about your past lives in your cover letter. it’s great that you were a medicine woman two lives ago, but i think things have changed a bit since then.
  • bursting into tears in a phone interview because i gave you some constructive feedback does not bode well for your ability to take direction.
  • i do not recommend printing your resume and cover letter in rainbow font. it does not make you look creative and outside the box. it makes you look like a crazed LSD freak.
  • please do not include the names of your kids in your cover letter. its nice you are a parent, but jimmy, joey, johnny, joshie and susan are not coming to work with me. i can learn about them later as i am sure you are going to come in with three cardboard boxes filled with pictures, art projects, and their baby scrapbooks.
  • coming to an interview stoned and smelling of pot is a great way to get a job at a head shop. btw – i would never work at a head shop.
  • punctuation, is nice only, when; put in the right – places.
  • when i interview you on the phone, i don’t appreciate it if you ask me what i am wearing. though in this situation the person was not trying to come on to me, it was still creepy.
  • when writing a cover letter please AVOID highlighting things using ALL CAPS. i don’t like it when people shout at me even in print.
  • if you must put a picture on your resume please do not make it one of you in a bathing suit.

See the whole article here:

2 September 2010 at 8:54PM Leave a comment

Key Words are Important in LinkedIn Profiles

Donna Shannon has a great article on the importance of having good keywords in your LinkedIn profile. Here’s a sample:

LinkedIn profiles have a lot of flexibility.  Within the Summary section, there is a prompt to list “Specialties.”  This is an excellent area to list your skills, in key words that employers are using.  Having these qualities early in the profile will show recruiters your relevance right away.

See the whole article here!

13 February 2010 at 12:29PM Leave a 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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