Your resume is finally ready for prime time! It’s been drafted, formatted, reviewed, and polished to perfection. Now you just need to attach your cover letter and complete a few final clicks, and your application will be off to the races.
But beware. And keep a steady hand on the wheel until the very end of the process. These final steps seem simple, but it’s at this stage that too many applications run aground and too many candidacies end before they even begin. And unfortunately, most of these mistakes simply result in silence and the candidate never finds out exactly what went wrong. Watch out for common last-stage missteps like these.
1. Emailing your resume to only one address…the wrong address.
The email address you’ve typed into your message is the same one listed on the website under the manager’s profile in the company directory. But is it also the same address in the job post submission instructions? If these two addresses differ, send the message to both. And while you’re at it, add one more address as well. Copy your message to the HR office, the manager’s assistant, or the department director. Just make sure it’s going to more than one place.
2. Ignoring a key request.
Look back over the job post one more time before you submit your resume, and search for any specific instructions you may have overlooked. Sometimes job posts request clear salary ranges, a clear description of candidate moving and transportation requirements, a clear statement about years of experience in a certain area, a work sample, a set of references, or an online portfolio. Sometimes employers request a link to a candidate’s public Facebook page or blog, and sometimes they ask for the answer to a simple question, just so they know the candidate read the whole post and can follow directions. Don’t let them down.
3. Customization problems.
It’s perfectly reasonable to use a single template cover letter and resume and customize these templates slightly for each application you submit. (Otherwise a single resume submission would take hours or days.) But if you choose this approach, be very careful with every one of the details and sections of text you decide to customize. Few mistakes will hurt your chances more than submitting a cover letter with another company’s name in the greeting or the first line.
4. Attachment problems.
Most companies encourage applicants to apply by using a company website or by simply attaching a resume to an introductory email in the form of a word file. But some employers prefer to receive resumes by PDF. And some won’t open attachments at all and would rather have the text of the resume pasted into the message. Double check for any instructions regarding this part of the process.
5. Failing to Follow Up.
After you submit your resume, don’t just walk away or move onto the next open position on your list. Remind yourself to follow up with these employers by phone or email the following day to make sure your materials were received. Not only will this confirm that you’re on your way, but it will set you apart as a motivated and detail-oriented applicant.
Start with a Strong Resume
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