Last week, we published Hiring Through Job Seekers’ Eyes: 5 Common Complaints About HR, outlining top complaints from job seekers about the recruiting process.
There are two sides to every story, however, and the HR professionals who joined the conversation said that the job seekers they encounter aren’t perfect either. Need proof?
Check out these five things HR would like job seekers to improve, submitted by real HR professionals and tips for how you can stop making those mistakes.
Not Optimizing Your Application for ATS
Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are one of HR’s most widely used tools designed specifically to weed through applications quickly. Job seekers, we simply have to face the fact the an ATS may be used, so we need to deal with it. In a time where 8.3 percent unemployment, applicant tracking systems can be especially helpful for HR professionals. However, many job seekers don’t ensure their applications are correctly optimized for ATS screenings, ultimately allowing their materials to go unseen by human eyes.
In the job search, injecting position keywords into your cover letter and resume doesn’t necessarily make your materials ATS optimized. Given the correct keywords, an application can still be rejected by ATS. To optimize your application for ATS and ensure it’s actually seen by HR, eliminate images, graphics, special characters and borders; choose common fonts like Arial and Times New Roman; play up your skills section; and create a customized professional summary with position keywords instead of an objective.
Not Updating Your Information
Overlapping social networking and job searching is today’s most effective method for finding a job smarter, faster, and easier. Pursuing this job search strategy often entails staying on top of multiple social profiles, many of which, HR says, don’t present job seekers’ most current contact information.
With possibly hundreds of applications pouring in each day, it’s easy for HR to misplace a cover letter or resume with job seekers’ most current information on it. As a job seeker, the last thing you should want is to be contacted for an interview based on the email listed on your LinkedIn only to realize it went to the .edu address you haven’t checked since you graduated college. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity by updating your information (and ensuring consistency) on all of your social profiles.
Poor two-way communication skills are one of job seekers’ top complaints about HR, and it seems HR has the same issue with job seekers. On some occasions, HR professionals will contact job seekers they’re interested in interviewing only to be met by silence. And on other occasions, HR will enthusiastically offer a job seeker a position only to be told the job seeker was never really interested in working for their company.
As a job seeker, you must communicate with HR and its associated departments effectively. This entails everything from double checking your grammar and spelling in your job search materials to actually contacting the hiring manager instead of HR professionals to ask for more details about a position. Reaching the hiring manager first will get you the answer you need quickly without the bureaucracy associated with online applications.
HR is well aware how high the unemployment rate and how long many qualified professionals have been out of work, but calling three times a week about your application or constantly emailing asking if their company has any new open positions is desperate and downright annoying.
To keep yourself from appearing like another desperate job seeker, follow job search protocol; when submitting your application, say you’ll follow up about your materials in one week, then do so with another email. If HR hasn’t gotten back to you in a month, it’s OK to give them a call or to send another email. But if they still don’t respond, move on.
On the other side of things if you DO hear back you don’t want to be one of those candidates who applies for everything and then try’s to argue with HR that you are the perfect candidate for THAT role. Eventually, you will just get on the “always reject list,” since you always cry wolf.
While you may not be perfect for every job, use proper judgement and focus your efforts on the roles where you are qualified. Read the description, requirements, qualifications and experience required portions of the posting carefully and make sure you can apply your credentials to each part of the description.
Using Industry-Inappropriate Resumes
Creative cover letters and resumes that incorporate video or infographics can be a wonderful way for job seekers to stand out from the job seeker pack in many industries. However, in some industries like government, insurance, and technology, creative resumes can be inappropriate.
If you’re a job seeker looking for work in industries that don’t require a high level of verbal, communication, or creative skills, it’s best to avoid creative cover letters and resumes. Most HR professionals hiring for these types of jobs find creative cover letters and resumes to be industry-inappropriate at this time.
Can you think of any other ways job seekers might make themselves more hireable? Add them to the list by commenting below!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Jackalope Jobs!
About the Author: Sudy Bharadwaj is a co-founder and the CEO of Jackalope Jobs, a job seeker focused platform, making the job search social, fast and easy. Learn how Sudy and Jackalope Jobs obsess over job seekers by connecting with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.