The Internet is a goldmine for job seekers who not long ago were relegated to newspaper want ads when it came time to find a new career. Potential employers are now just a click away on job boards such as Monster and Simply Hired, via social networking sites such as Craigslist and LinkedIn and directly through corporate Websites.
The fact that job hunting is faster online doesn’t make it any easier. Anyone who expects his or her resume to successfully navigate an employer’s “elimination pipeline,” must avoid these eight common mistakes:
Putting information, photos and videos on MySpace or Facebook that you wouldn’t want your new boss to see: The Internet has become the catchall for personal photos, videos and information, none of which should be accessible to potential employers. “Hiring managers know enough to get connected into Facebook,” says Dennis Nason, CEO at recruiting firm Nason & Nason in Coral Gables, Fla., “and you don’t want them reading about how you ‘got wasted last night.’ Keep those pieces of information — and the related photos — private.”
Building landmines into your online communications: If your job history dates back 50 years, focus on the last 20 years on your resume (and address the rest when you get the job interview). If you’re not willing to relocate or travel, keep it to yourself. And if you’re a smoker, don’t advertise it. “The fewer landmines you build into your online correspondence,” says Rick Gillis, a Houston-based job search and employment trends expert, “ the better chance you’ll have of getting the job interview.”
Including your physical address on your resume: Job seekers who are looking for jobs outside of their immediate region shouldn’t post their physical addresses on their resumes, advises Gillis. “Not only is it very 1980s, but putting your address on there can work against you,” he says. “Someone will look at your resume and say, ‘that’s too far away.’”
Not mirroring the job posting with your resume and cover letter: To ensure that your resume lands on the right desk, include keywords (from the original job posting) in the document. Mirror the original help wanted ad closely, says Gillis, who advises job hunters to use a smaller font (8-point, for example) to include keywords (each followed by a space) at the bottom of their resumes, “for the sole purpose of getting your document recognized by the recipient’s scanning and filtering software.”
Forgetting to follow up soon after sending your first correspondence: You wouldn’t make one sales call and expect the orders to come pouring in, so why would you send out a few resumes and sit back to wait for the job offers? After sending a resume, Gillis suggests following up a few days later with a quick email that says, “Hi, I’m just checking on the status on the resume I sent over.”
Sending hundreds of resumes out to jobs you really aren’t interested in (ie. not reading the job description): Just because you can hit thousands of employers with a few clicks of the keyboard doesn’t mean you should. “The mass mailing approach makes you feel you’ve accomplished something, but it’s also relatively unproductive,” says Nason. A better strategy is to find a company that you’d like to work for, check out the “now hiring” section of its website, and/or search the national job boards for openings at that company. “Then locate a specific hiring manager,” says Nason, “and direct your correspondence to that individual.”