Have had a long weekend – and while going through hundreds of CVs for one of the positions for my current organization – came across so many faux pas from candidates – decided putting up a brief list of Do’s & Don’t’s whilst applying for a Job.

Image courtesy: Dilbert.com for non-commercial usage

Without further ado, here’s it:

1. Kindly… kindly… kindly… peruse the JD (job description) of the job that you are applying for. Whether you’re applying from Monster/Naukri/LinkedIn Jobs feature, am sure the recruiter(s) has/have put a detailed JD. So, kindly go through it before applying. I completely understand that at times, owing to lack of time, one doesn’t have time to go through it, but kindly do go through it cause this is what happens when you don’t – the recruiter receives hundreds of CVs and a major portion of it is a waste. Thus, if you do satisfy, say, 50% or more, do apply for the position. Otherwise, there’s no harm in giving it a pass.

E.g. if the position in question is for a “C++ Kernel driver developer with current H1B Visa” or “Experienced Tandoori Chef with 10+ years of experience“; an applicant who just passed out of college last week and can barely define what a “Linux kernel” is and a chef with no tandoori preparation experience are wrong candidates, respectively. But as mentioned by Shradha in her comment below – “What to do when your current profile is different from the one you wish to make a transition to? How to bridge this divide – is the question!” Now that’s a serious point to consider and the best option here is – to “tailor make the application” for the position in question. Don’t lie or don’t exaggerate your achievements, but be honest about it and show real interest into the career you wish to make a transition into. Show in your CV the events/conferences/bootcamps/trainings/certification courses etc. that you may have attended in your city related to the specialization you’re wishing to make a career transition into.

2. If there’s a contact number of the recruiter/hiring manager on the JD, that doesn’t necessarily mean – you buzz him/her incessantly. It means – if there’s something in the JD that you do not understand, or, is not clear with you, or something is missing (say, location preference etc.), do give him a buzz.

3. If you’re applying through LinkedIn, please do take a note: before you click on the “Submit” button, make sure your “Resume or CV” is attached therewith. I have received too many applications wherein the applicants have actually forgotten to attach their CVs. This is a major downer – shows lack of ‘attention-to-detail’ on applicant’s part.

4.  Another major downer is – LinkedIn profile not complete. Am not saying – your profile needs to be 100% complete. Especially for developers, testers and architects, understood. But for people who wish to make a career in digital marketing space – SEO, SEM, SMM, social media strategies, email marketing, digital marketing consultant, recruiters etc. its extremely important that you have a detailed LI profile – with detailed information on the different positions you’ve held, as many recommendations as you can get, and detailed educational history, additional certifications etc. as well.

In the figure below, make sure you check the “Jobs Home” page from time to time. Check your completeness %, if low, update it with adequate information. Also, keep an eye on number of connections + companies you’re following. Note that the ‘job suggestions’ feature from LinkedIn is heuristic in nature, which means, it adapts itself from time to time as per user choices, keywords, completeness of the profile and also, type of companies the person in question is following over time. Thus, to get better job suggestions, make sure you keep an eye on all these factors.

5. Use the LinkedIn applications judiciously. Slideshare, Twitter, WordPress etc. Not only adds dynamism to the profile, makes it look complete as well.

6. For candidates wishing to make a long-term career in digital marketing space, DO NOT tell, but SHOW. Do you have the LinkedIn profile, Facebook profile, Twitter account, About.me hyperlinks on your CV? Please do put and don’t just say – “Yes, I am extremely active on the net”. Don’t tell, show!

7. Heard from a few candidates – “Oh! yes, I write blogs!”. Where’s the link? Please don’t expect the recruiter or hiring manager to ask for such details? Make sure its mentioned on your profile. These may appear as very minuscule details, but such details do definitely count.

8. Received more than 150+ CVs for a social media marketing profile, yet, not a single “About.me” profile. For those wishing to make a long-term stay in digital marketing, make sure you have a dynamic CV as well apart from the usual paper one:

> Paper CV (.doc/.docx)
> LinkedIn profile
> About.me profile

Check out my About.me profile: http://about.me/SubhasishGhosh

And this is not just for social media marketing specialists or digital marketing managers, but can be utilized by everyone. HR recruiters, software developers and everyone else. Apart from a visually appealing resume, check out the services one can add. E.g. I have added my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and WordPress blog services.

9. Please do take some time (maybe 10 minutes) to visit the company profile on the net before you actually come for the interview. When asked – “So, did you get time to visit the site?” “Hmmmmmmmm…. not exactly!” or “Was too busy!” – is not exactly the answer most managers would love to listen to.

10. Suppose the interview is scheduled at 10am IST on Monday of a week. If you’re sure, you would be a few minutes late, do positively call and let the person in question know. Apart from showing professionalism, it shows – the candidate respects time. Time may not be an important deciding factor in the Indian corporate culture, but is an extremely important factor in the West. How can I trust a candidate to handle a multi-million dollar campaign for a Fortune100 client who is 45 minutes late for the interview? Hmmmmmmm…. Not sure.

11. Please don’t put email addresses like: “sexymonkey”, “cutegirl”, “dashing_guy”, “lover-boy” as your email addresses on your CV. They are absolutely perfect when chatting in Yahoo! chat rooms trying to impress a girl, but not for a job application. Kindly try sticking to firstname.lastname format @ yahoo/gmail/rediffmail/aol etc.

12. When attaching the CVs, kindly rename it to your: “Firstname”-“Lastname”.doc format. E.g. Subhasish-Ghosh.docx. We receive too many CVs in the format: “resume”, “my resume”, “new resume”, resume1″ etc. and so on. For a hiring manager receiving hundreds of CVs in a week, it can become very tedious to rename the CVs.

13. Check your emails regularly, minimum once/twice a day, when applying for jobs. It’s not the company’s fault, if they send you an email communication and you don’t get back and miss the interview date/timings. Whether or not mentioned in the email communication, basic etiquette is to “always acknowledge” the email.

14. Last, but the most important of all – at the very end of an interview, if you’re asked – “do you have any questions?”. Please don’t keep quiet and say “no thanks!”, rather ask as many as you can and have. Voltaire used to say – “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers”. So ask intelligent questions and make a mark.

These are some of the things that I wished to note. Please do always keep in mind: “IT IS NOT ALWAYS THE BEST CANDIDATE WHO GETS A JOB”. My very first employer in the U.K., the owner and Chairman of the company had told me this. I still remember it – “It’s the person who can sell him/herself the best to the company – most often wins!“. So before you appear for an interview, always ask yourself this question:

1. What sets me apart from the rest?
2. What are the things that I shall discuss (and accordingly mold the discussion thereat)?

Best of luck, guys!

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About sghoshoxon

Born in India, educated in Moscow, worked in the UK; Subhasish speaks English, Russian, Hindi & Bengali. Marketing // Strategy // Consulting, Active Blogger, Social Media Evangelist, Apple fan; Thanks to all for reading my blog posts, with 'FewRandomRantings.Wordpress.com' reaching 74,000+ visits since inception. Follow me @nerdometer.

9 responses »

  1. could u be more elabborate on the first point.. i mean… thr r 2 ways :
    1. current profile of candidate v/s JD of a similar profile
    2. current profile v/s JD of a profile tht one wants to persue….
    how to bridge the divide in the second case?

    • sghoshoxon says:

      Hi Shradha, well, a good question – and extremely applicable if one is wishing to move from one specialization to another which is drastically different or trying to move from a general area to a more specialist area. Well, I’m no specialist HR recruiter, but what I would suggest is:
      1. if one finds that he/she doesn’t have the actual work-ex on the area that is major part of the JD, well, you can always apply and mention that you are extremely keen to learn new thing, and point out situations wherein you did deliver at short times and also, “managed to learn new things and deliver”.
      2. if one finds that he/she does satisfy some of the area(s) of the JD, but doesn’t satisfy a few, there’s no harm to buzz the recruiter or maybe, even I would say – apply. Cause we are all not born with the know hows of everything and especially in the field of digital marketing – this is extremely extremely applicable since the realm itself is in so much flux.

      But another very important point you can use to your advantage is: depict serious interest in “continuous learning”. E.g. you’re currently working in ‘event management’ or as ‘pr executive’ and wish to make a career transition to ‘digital marketing’ or more precisely ‘social media marketing’. Do you mention in your CV whether any bootcamps or workshops or events or conferences or meetings or trainings or certification courses that you have had attended in the past? If yes, do mention it. If no, the question is – why not? 🙂

  2. Christy says:

    I agree that paying attention to the requirements is extremely important. Sometimes when we post job openings the resumes are so far off from the qualifications that we wonder if they submitted their resume to the wrong position. In addition, a strong cover letter that clearly states which job the person is applying for, why they think it is a good fit, and how they can be beneficial to the company can also be a very useful tool when an employer is going through a large stack of applications.

    • sghoshoxon says:

      absolutely and completely agree with you Christy. sometimes whilst accepting CVs for openings in organizations i work with, receive so many absurd CVs, makes me wonder whether people actually read the JDs. i believe, in most cases, they really don’t. and yes, can’t stress about cover letter. its not only important, but becomes extremely vital at times when the qualifications/skillsets are quite different form the ones mentioned in JD.

  3. Alejandra Duarte says:

    Nice tips about job searching! I agree with you about the importance of “selling yourself” in the interview, you must have the competencies needed for the job but most important, you must want the job and demonstrate so, you must show interest in the position, demonstrate that you will be the best option, as you said, you must sell as being the best candidate for the position! That’s why is kind of personal branding, highlighting the best of “you” to get the job!

    • sghoshoxon says:

      Hi Alejandra… absolutely. Many candidates have exceptional skills – say in something specific or some tools or say, in presentations skills etc. but you’re getting max 15-30 minutes for an interview… so if you’re unable to put those across in a timely and orderly fashion – how on earth is the person interviewing you supposed to find out? at the end – interviewing is basically a “game-theory” application. because its essentially a “bargaining problem”, mostly zero-sum games. no winners, no losers. but definitely. there’s a lot at stake and to sell. if u’re unable to sell yourself, chances are – you wouldn’t get the job. as simple as that. 🙂

  4. I laughed while reading #11. Really, people still do that !?
    As for #9 and #14, I don’t understand people who go to an interview without getting a maximum of information about the company and plenty of questions about it and the position.
    Thanks for the tips, this post was very useful to me. I didn’t know about.me, it’s a great way to brand yourself.

    • sghoshoxon says:

      Hiya Carine… of course, they still do use such hilarious emails. Received a lot of them in fact. 🙂 As for About.me, yes, its an excellent way to brand yourself… And also, if you’re into digital and photo editing etc. you can do some wonders with your online CV. Check them out for sure. Subhasish

  5. […] [toread] List of Do’s and Don’t’s whilst Applying for a Job « A FewRandomRan… – […]

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