How to Talk Yourself Out of an Interview Without Talking at All
During the interview process, everyone knows there are a lot of “Do Not Mentions” to be aware of in order to avoid a bad first impression; however, what most of you don’t know takes place behind the scenes before you’re even been offered an interview! Let’s take a closer look at two tiny details hiring managers use to determine if they want to meet you: your resume and your application. Specifically, what not to write on them.
How NOT to Write a Resume:
- Include a full six pages of text, front and back: Employers want to know if you really are the super genius you claim to be, but they will hear that from your mouth in an interview. Do not write a dissertation of what you did from 9-5 at your first job circa 1992 up until your most recent position. This will guarantee your resume a one-way ticket into the trash. Instead, try to keep your resume down to 2 pages. Remember: your resume is a snapshot of your experience – not an album.
- Detail irrelevant positions: If you’re newer to an industry, that’s completely understandable. Employers will enjoy knowing that you were dedicated enough to hold a job as a full-time student. However, if you’re applying for a Chemical Engineer position, the hiring manager doesn’t care about your knowledge of saucing wings at a pizza shop in college. Keep the irrelevant work experience details to a minimum and focus on mentioning your experience that applies to the position you’re applying for.
- Describe each position held in full paragraph form: Hiring managers will immediately see your wordy resume and only imagine the next 10+ minutes of their time that is about to be consumed reading it. Can you say: “recycling bin”? Instead, use bullet points to emphasize important details of your past positions, while using action words such as “Managed”, “Developed” or “Prepared”.
- Forget to include your contact information: “People forget to include their contact information?” Yes, all the time! Writing a resume is a big deal, which makes it easy to overlook the little things. Just like remembering to write your name on a test in high school: everything you just spent all of your time on is for nothing if the person receiving it doesn’t know who it belongs to. Simply put your name, address, phone number, and email at the top of your resume – it doesn’t need to be fancy!
How NOT to Fill Out an Application:
- Write a specific acceptable salary range: Employers will automatically rule you out if you are outside of their budget. This rule gets a little bit murky because you don’t want the employer to offer you a salary less than what they would have because they know you will accept it, and you also don’t want to get your application thrown out because you requested too much money. The best solution in this situation is to write, “Open”. You and your potential employer can discuss salary once you have both determined if the position at hand is really an option.
- Write “See Resume”: This is almost the same as turning in a blank application: its pointless, and just makes you look lazy. A lazy applicant translates to a lazy employee, while showcasing that getting an interview for this opportunity is clearly unimportant to you. Completing an application isn’t some attempt on an employer’s part to be cruel. In fact, most employers are working to shorten the application process as much as possible in order to grab quality candidates without wasting a lot of their time. If you are truly interested in getting the job, take the time to fill out the application This could make or break your chances at getting an interview, no matter how fantastic your resume looks.
- Include inaccurate or dishonest information: It is common for applicants to have gaps in their job history or to have a Bachelor’s Degree instead of a Master’s. These could be insignificant details for some positions, but for others: devastating. Lying about how long you worked for a company, the terms on which you left an employer, or a college degree might not seem like a big deal -but the truth is bound to come out. When the truth does rear its ugly head, you could be on the edge of losing a brand new job or getting a nice felony stamped on your record for forgery. No really – we have seen both happen!