I have done and still do some recruiting and I try to remind myself that there are people worrying about how I will respond to their resumes or interviews. I try to appreciate that there are some folks with knots in their stomachs because the wait is excruciating. I try to remember that my decisions have a huge impact on other people's lives.
Sure, it can be annoying, or inconvenient, to get dozens of phone calls asking for updates. I emailed my resume last night and want to know if you have had time to review it. I try not to let the messages impact my review of their resumes because I don't know their circumstances. Who knows, it might be this job that will enable him/her to stay in his/her home.
When we are waiting for the call from HR or the hiring manager, many of us are a bundle of nerves. This is why I try to be upfront with people if I think they are not a good match for the role. I tell them they will not get and interview, or an offer if they have interviewed. I think the pain of hearing this is less than the waiting and ultimate pain. And perhaps they will get into action on other job options.
And it pains me when I see candidates make very bad decisions about how they apply for jobs. You will read blogs post that tell you to buck convention to get noticed. I would agree that doing extra - more - can be good. But never do less than what employers request. Here's what I mean:
- Always completely fill out the application. Yes, this is a pain in the neck. But DO NOT write in the previous job section "see resume." There is a reason HR people want you to fill out the application. Your resume does not include all the information we seek - namely your salary history and the reasons you left each position. Take the extra time to fill out the application.
- If the job posting says to submit a cover letter, resume, and application, do all three. The cover letter is important for many jobs, particularly those that require writing. In addition, if you would not be the logical choice (a nurse applying to work as a webmaster), you can take the opportunity to address why you think you are the right person in your cover letter.
- Write legibly. If you cannot write legibly, type it. Better yet, learn to write legibly. Your application will get no attention if it cannot be read.
- Update your resume. I cannot tell you the number of times I have gotten a resume that did not include the most recent job. When I say, "so you are working at IBM," and you say, "oh, no, I left IBM, I am now working at ADP," this tells me that you did not care enough to update the resume (and makes me wonder if there might be a reason you did not want to mention this).
Here's why this is important. The HR person gets 100 applications, but you decided it was a pain in the neck to complete the application and send only your resume. You are now competing with 100 people who cared enough to do what was asked. The HR person MIGHT send you an email asking for the application, but it is more likely that your resume will be filed away and you will not be considered.
Case in point. I was reviewing this woman's applicant package (email, cover letter, application). The cover letter was short, but told me she had some experiences that we sought and her current employer was in the industry. The resume did not list the most recent employer that she mentioned in her cover letter. So I went to the application, where she wrote "see resume" in the previous employers section.
Because I know that I am messing with people's lives, I looked everything over a few times - precious time I did not have to spare. And then I put her application aside. Why? Because I had a huge stack of applications from people who took the time to send me the information I requested. Also, if someone is this careless when seeking a job, she is likely even more careless when doing other tasks.
The hiring function is dramatic and life changing. Each little decision we make about who is out and who is in affects someone. The bottom line is that we have one job and 100 people - we need to get from 100 to 1. Make sure you do not get ousted in the first pass. If you are seeking work, please take the care required to respond to jobs in the way the job posting requests. Know and embrace the fact that you are likely competing with dozens of other people.
P.S. For those of you applying for higher level jobs - yes, this applies to you. Often, like when working through a recruiter, you will only need to submit a resume. BUT, if the job posting - for even the $150,000 per year job - asks for an application, fill one out. Bottom line: do at least what is requested, and perhaps more, when applying for jobs.