Just as there are vital things you should include in your communication with recruiters, there are also several pitfalls to avoid to bolster your chance of being interviewed and hired. Careless mistakes can give a negative impression and potentially damage professional relationships in the long term. Here are the top fifteen things recruiters wish job applicants would be more conscientious of.
1. Generic Greetings
Avoid impersonal introductions such as “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom it may concern. ” Find the recruiter’s name and address them directly. Doing your research to learn more about the hiring manager will do wonders for your ability to establish common ground and relate. Most applicants don’t make the effort, so though recruiters know you’re putting your best foot forward, they appreciate the extra effort.
2. Vague Purposes
Don’t reach out without a clear purpose. Recruiters are busy professionals, and vague or unclear messages can be frustrating and easily dismissed. This also applies to the information you include in your resume or cover letter. Be specific, including dates of employment, willingness to relocate, and specific roles and skills.
Avoid: “I just thought I’d reach out…”
3. Excessive Self-Praise
While it’s important to highlight your qualifications, avoid sounding arrogant or exaggerating your skills. Let your experiences and accomplishments speak for themselves. Being repetitive or highlighting attributes about yourself that don’t directly relate to the position can be a huge red flag for hiring managers.
Avoid: “I’m the best candidate you will ever find for this role…”
4. Negativity Towards Past Employers
Never speak ill of previous employers or colleagues. It’s unprofessional and can raise red flags about your attitude and professionalism. Many recruiters will conclude how you would resolve intercompany and interpersonal conflicts based on your comments about past employers. Failure to maintain diplomacy is very detrimental to otherwise qualified candidates. Keep things upbeat and focus on the beneficial experience you bring with you, regardless of how awful your last job may have been.
5. Demands or Entitlement
You might be eager to get a response, but demanding immediate feedback or exhibiting a sense of entitlement can be disrespectful. Applying for jobs is a grind; being ghosted after submitting dozens of applications can be frustrating, but making demands of other people’s time is not the remedy. Plus, your resume is likely being reviewed by AI first.
Avoid: “I expect to hear from you within X amount of time…”
6. Poor Spelling and Grammar
Typos, incorrect punctuation, and poor grammar suggest a lack of attention to detail. You should always proofread your message before sending it. Especially with AI being used to review resumes.
It’s even more important than ever to ensure your resume is formatted clearly and easily for a machine to “parse” the data. If you haven’t been getting any calls but are more than qualified for the positions you’ve been applying to, your resume could get lost in the system.
7. Being Too Casual
LinkedIn is a professional networking site, so it’s essential to maintain a professional tone. Avoid using slang, emojis, or overly casual language. The same is true for any correspondence with a recruiter over the phone, video calls, or in person. There’s a fine line between being laid back or approachable and appearing flippant or unreliable.
8. Getting Too Personal
Do not waste valuable resume space with hobbies or outside interests with little applicable value in the workplace. If you feel there is a specific correlation between an outside activity that directly applies to an aspect of the role you’re applying for, you can include it, but be concise. Listing past professional accomplishments and abilities is far more valuable than taking the gamble that you and the recruiter will hit it off based on a mutual interest.
Professional negotiations for benefits and salary are always welcome. However, there is a big difference between backing up your requests with valuable work experience to benefit the company and telling a recruiter you need more money to cover your living expenses.
Though the latter may be true, those are your personal choices, not companies. Using personal financial or familial situations very quickly deteriorates any chance of future opportunities.
10. Inappropriate Social Media
If it is public, keep it PG; otherwise, make your profiles private. Nowadays, it is unbelievable what a quick search tells recruiters about potential applicants. On the one hand, it is helpful and quickly eliminates candidates; on the other, why not just be pragmatic and show some discretion? Many applicants look great on paper, but their social media tells an entirely different story that depicts them as potential liability.
11. Full or Inactive Voicemail
Nothing is more infuriating for a recruiter than reaching out to a qualified candidate to set up or follow up on an interview and being unable to leave a message for the candidate. Ideally, recruiters prefer you be available, but at least allow them to pass along the message. The interview process is essentially over if your voicemail is full or has never been set up. It’s unprofessional and a waste of everyone’s time.
12. Forgetting What Job You Applied For
Applying for multiple jobs is okay, but keep them straight in your mind. If you’re getting a phone call from an unknown number, it’s likely a potential career opportunity. The last thing you want to do is sound unprofessional and forgetful when you cannot immediately recall the company and job you applied for based on the recruiter’s greeting.
13. Using an Inappropriate or Unprofessional Email Address
If you’re an adult applying for a professional role, have a professional-sounding email address, even if that means creating a new account specifically for job hunting. Every bit of information you give recruiters is a reflection of you, for better or worse. Having profanity in your email address is uncomfortable and simply unnecessary in any setting.
14. Being Unkempt
You would think being well-dressed and showered before an interview would be common sense. However, many recruiters recount instances where applicants arrived for the interview wearing wrinkled or dirty clothes and needing a bath.
Interviews make everyone nervous. It’s one thing to potentially sweat through your deodorant and another to knowingly arrive at an interview with poor personal hygiene. When uncertain, always overdress rather than underdress. It shows you made an effort and take the opportunity seriously.
15. Over Reaching
It’s one thing to apply for a position you have partial qualifications for and another to apply for a job in a completely unrelated field with few to no transferrable skills. When you want to make a career change, your choice of words and presentations is even more critical.
For most cases, unless you have a connection that can help facilitate the transition, finding a recruiter who will take you seriously with little to no experience is unrealistic and frustrating for hiring managers who have hundreds or thousands of qualified applicants to get through.
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Complete Guide to Contacting Recruiters on LinkedIn
With hundreds of millions of users worldwide, LinkedIn is a vast network with potential professional connections, making it an invaluable resource for job seekers and companies. However, crafting a compelling message can sometimes feel daunting, especially if you have little experience.
In this article, we’ll explore the art of messaging recruiters on LinkedIn, providing you with expert tips and strategies to maximize your impact and increase your chances of getting hired.