So Do You Want To Bake Bread or Drive Trains?

By Tony Restell

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I'm writing this as a wake-up call to you. And you. And you.

I'm writing this for every executive and professional job seeker out there who believes they're above making silly mistakes that'll cost them a job. Believe me - you're not.

So Do You Want To Bake Bread or Drive Trains?

This article was prompted by something that happened just recently (though in truth it happens with alarming regularity). I was approached by a connection savvy enough to know that having their application passed straight to the recruiting decision maker by a trusted contact would greatly increase their chances of being invited for interview.

So far so good.

Except this was a position baking bread and yet the CV started with a declaration that the candidate was looking to secure a job driving trains.

A Lucky Escape

Fortunately for the candidate in question, I took the time to review their resume - as I wanted to write an introduction to the ultimate recipient that accurately reflected the candidate's credentials. Had I not done that, someone would now be discarding an application for a job as a baker from a candidate who'd professed their passion to become a train driver.

(Baking and Train Driving being purely illustrative of a real-life situation that involved prestigious business careers)

I don't know what's more shocking - that a professional of such high standing should be so sloppy, or that this happens with such frequency that I feel the need to write about it!! But before you roll your eyes and surf to another page, let me assure you that these are invariably high calibre candidates making these mistakes... and they're always shocked to learn they could have been so careless.

Mistakes You Should Be Wary Of Making

So let me wrap things up with some bullet points of things to watch out for in the coming weeks as you're going about your next job search. Be wary of:

Submitting a cover letter that is blatantly a copy and paste job. If you can't find anything noteworthy to say about their company, the position and why you're a great fit, don't bother submitting a cover letter at all (and maybe ask yourself what you're doing applying for that opening in the first place)

Failing to tailor your application so that within seconds the recipient can see what a great fit you are for the role and the fact that you've taken the time to craft an application just for them.

Overlooking the need to change your privacy settings before making sweeping changes to your LinkedIn profile and connecting with large numbers of recruiters there.

Ignoring the need to sort yourself out with a professional looking email address for your applications. Anything that's not simply [email protected] has the potential to set alarm bells ringing.

Inappropriate CV / Resume file naming. Including _for_baking_jobs in your CV filename immediately begs the question "what other jobs has this candidate been applying for?" Including a date makes the recipient worry about how long you've been job hunting - or worse still tells them you've been looking for ages if you don't remember to update the filename. Similarly v1, v2 and the like can set off alarm bells.

Honestly I could go on and on. But invariably these blunders are a result of candidates rushing to get things done - and therefore not stopping to take the time to assess what they're doing and apply a bit of common sense. My advice - cut back on the number of applications you're submitting and use the time you save to make sure those you do submit are absolutely flawless. Good luck.


Image source: kyz


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