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Applying for a Job – A How-NOT-To
  • December 8, 2007

We recently advertised for a new administrative assistant. This person will have contact with our customers and have some minimal billing and HR responsibilities. Both additional responsibilities are relatively minimal since we have other people in billing and outsource HR to a third-party. I took interest in this hire since this person will be working directly for me.

After pushing through 60+ resumes on a plane ride, I decided to write this blog post. We received a number of good and a few great resumes; however, I was utterly surprised by the people who do not know how to apply for a job. After reading our replies for Linux admins, this holds true to those applicants as well.

  1. Read the job description. Re-read the job description. A number of the intros and resumes we received just did not apply to our job description. More disappointing, most of the applicants for our Linux engineering position completely failed to comprehend that it was a second shift position. If you can’t take the time to read the description, why should the employer take the time to read your resume?
  2. Spell check your submission, including any attachments. Spelling mistakes make the candidate look amateurish. Take the extra 10 minutes and send in your resume then. Most mail clients and webmail systems have a spell check. One of the submissions had the phrase “strong attention to detials”. Really? Could have surprised me with that one.
  3. Convey yourself and your uniqueness. There are numerous ways to do this – highlight a special project previously worked on, a special skill at which you excel, etc. We take a decent amount of time preparing our job description to convey our company’s uniqueness. The applicant should show the same.
  4. Be passionate and have your resume reflect that. Once again, we reflect this in every job post. We are passionate about what we do, despite hosting not being very sexy, especially the support aspect of it. Yet, that’s what we love to do.
  5. MySpace/Facebook/etc. Profile. Pay attention to what your social network profile say about you. A good employer could care less about your personal lifestyle, especially anything discriminatory, on these pages; however, ensure this is the presence you want publicly available and that it conveys who you are. For example, do not put phrases in your resume such as “Excellent people person. Love working with the public.” while your MySpace pages says “People suck. The world would be better if everyone died.”
  6. Remember where you applied. Yep, it happened a few times. Based upon the job requirements, the applicants who apply as an admin assistant are the ones the catch me off guard. Most of these candidates stress their organization skills.

There are probably a few hundred other points I should make, but these are the ones that constantly came up.