Recruiters have about five to seven seconds to scan your résumé before they make a call to keep it or chuck it in the recycling bin. Big companies using applicant tracking software have even more sophisticated, efficient means to get rid of the bad résumés. And employers are now wise to check out your social medial profile before considering you for a position.
So not only does your application have a small window of opportunity to convince a hiring committee. But your online history and social shenanigans are also under scrutiny.
Whether you’re fresh out of college or want to change your current work situation, you need to nail your application like a boss — by avoiding the following mistakes:
The “Pwede na ‘yan résumé”
An applicant once put his/her Snapchat photo on an application.
In other countries, it’s illegal for companies to hire based on age, sex, gender, race, religion, and so on. So the “no photo” rule on résumés works to help businesses avoid a discrimination claim. Here, no such rule applies. Although, using your Snapchat photo—no matter how awesome you look—isn’t recommended. You want to look professional and intelligent.
The Puffed Up Résumé
Never pad your résumé with words that do not go together.
From afar, with about five bottles of beer, and after being spun around, this might start to make sense as a skill:
“Proficient in dealing with components that are found inside computer equipment, as well as the actual devices that contain the computers and the software that runs on those machines.”
I Leapt Before I Looked
A recruiter from a Makati firm scheduled an interview through SMS, and received a text from an applicant:
“Huy Girl! Sale palasa (local undergarment brand). Go tayo!”
When receiving SMS invites from recruiters, always check your messages before you press send.
The “UnSub” (Unknown Subject)
Never leave home to do an interview without your ID.
The same recruiter shares that an applicant called up to say she was nearby, but couldn’t come up because she didn’t bring an ID. So she asked the recruiter to come and fetch her.
The Chewing Gum Case
There is absolutely no reason to chew gum during an interview—unless you’re in a Seth Rogen movie and you’re playing the part of a desperate applicant trying to mask the scent of one happy herb.
The Last Company Sucked
Zhai, an operations manager of a web marketing firm, shares that it’s a red flag for applicants to talk trash about his or her previous company. For one thing, it shows your overly sensitive, bitter side, which means you become a source of negativity in any team. Another thing, it tells a hiring manager that you lack the ability to effect change.
She explains, “I pick someone who was able to do something about their bad situation and made it better…Example of which is someone who has complained that his old organization hasn’t given him any raise for the past two years and when probed, he didn’t even talk to HR about it, or worse, his boss!”
The High-Net Worth Candidate
A fresh grad tells a hiring manager at a Makati firm her asking salary for an entry-level position: P50,000. Another candidate tells the same hiring manager his asking salary: P90,000.
By all means, estimate your value as an employee with dignity and pride. But that number has to come from substantial experience and demonstrable skills. Never quote figures based on what your guidance counselor tells you — or your sick desire to hear the hiring manager’s maniacal laugh.
The Applicant Wears Prada
A manager in a Makati office had to point out that the applicant was wearing slippers. The applicant quickly said she has shoes — Prada, she emphasized, but had no time to put it on. So she put it on while the manager waited, quietly casting a nasty spell.
Yes, you need to look presentable, but not right before the interviewer.
Family Ties that Really Bind
An applicant recently came with her dad. After the interview:
Interviewer: Do you have questions?
Applicant: Your lobby looks comfy! Can my dad stay there while I’m working?
If you don’t know the answer to that bit, then you might need to reconsider your work situation.
The Pageant Candidate Answers
Job interviews for new grads or people who have never been in one will feel like they’re in some dreaded Q&A segment of any beauty pageant.
While there is probably no good time during the interview to suddenly say “world peace,” you should prep for the interview and rehearse your elevator pitch for being a good candidate for the position.
Just so you don’t give answers like Miss South Carolina’s “I personally believe US Americans are unable to do so because…I believe our education over here in the US should help the US…” or Venus Raj’s “There is nothing major major…”
What we have here is failure to communicate
Interviewer: So, do you have other pending applications to date?
Applicant: No, sir. Uwinapoako after this.
Tell me how you really feel
Interviewer: Why do you want to join (company name)?
Applicant: I need money.
Interviewer: Why did you leave your last job?
Applicant: For career shipment
If you hear a mic drop in the forest …
Interviewer: Do you have any weakness/es that we can help you with?
Applicant: None. I’m a perfectionist.
Everything you do can affect your chances for landing that coveted job. You’re vulnerable on paper (when you email your application) and in person (when you get an interview).So take a moment before you send your résumé. And learn how to behave in interviews.
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Joy has been a vegan for over 20 years. She's done a wide range of stories for magazines, from music and movies to business and culture matters. She continues to write professionally to this day — like, right this very minute.