Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Glenford Smith | 7 do’s and don’ts for jobseekers

Published:Wednesday | September 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM

I was talking with Alicia Lyttle, CEO of Internet Income Jamaica, who has read over 11,000 job applications. We concurred on the need for more jobseekers to be especially diligent when they prepare their applications and rÈsumÈs.

Human resources departments of corporations will not spend time on rÈsumÈs and application letters that are riddled with errors. With a wide pool of applications to choose from, they don't have to. The competition for jobs is fierce, and you have to give yourself every advantage.

To help you, I've put together a list of seven dos and seven don'ts to keep in mind when writing your resume and application letter. I thank Alicia for her ideas.

 

DOS

 

1. Proofread every word. Your application and resume should not have typos. Free software is available, which can help, but you will want to do your own personal checks.

2. Use a professional sounding email address. Don't submit an email address such as championbubbla@hotmail.com or hotgyal97@hotmail.com. I've seen some pretty bad email addresses. What would you think if you were in human resources and you came upon championbubbla@hotmail.com?

3. Clean up your social-media profiles. If you don't think that potential employers visit Facebook or Instagram to check you out, think again. Present yourself how you want potential employers to see you.

4. Be confident and express that confidence in your job application, rÈsumÈ, and your job interview. If you don't think you are perfect for the job, then why would your potential employer think you are?

5. Get a good, qualified friend or a career counsellor to double-check your rÈsumÈ or application letter. Sure, it may cost you some money. But wouldn't you rather pay a little money and get it right than have an error that costs you the interview?

6. Address your application to a person at the target company. Find out who is responsible for employment, whether it is the human resources manager or someone else. Use the person's correct name.

7. Tailor your application to a particular employer. Do not opt for a generic rÈsumÈ and application. Nothing shouts as loudly that you didn't do your background work and don't know enough about the company.

 

DON'TS

 

1. Don't depend on an employer to get back to you. That's one idea I try to get through to candidates. It is up to you act like it. Ask for an interview. Tell the employer when you're going to call to confirm it, and place the call on time.

2. Don't go online and copy a letter writing or rÈsumÈ template indiscriminately. Always seek to ensure that what you are doing fits with the best practices in Jamaica.

3. Don't send your resume minus a cover letter.

4. Don't send your resume and cover letter without numbering the pages. That way if they happen to get separated, they can easily be put back together.

5. Don't exaggerate your strengths on your resume. You must have confidence and not undersell yourself, but so many times you see that people interpret it to mean they must exaggerate. Don't.

6. Don't say bad things about your past employer. Your potential employer will think that is how you are going to represent him or her when you leave.

7. Don't be modest in selling yourself. Don't exaggerate, but don't be modest either. It's a thin line you will have to walk.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.

glenfordsmith@yahoo.com