I recently ran searches for several job openings. One search was for a professional staff position in Career Services, and the other was for several student staff positions for the Community Service Centers. The applicants couldn’t have been more different. Candidates applying for the professional staff position submitted resumes highlighting relevant work experience and educational training. Most cover letters referred back to the job posting, and candidates highlighted related skills and identified the top reasons for which they should be considered for the job. Spelling and grammar were nearly perfect. Student applicants could learn a bit from these job seekers.
NYIT students made quite a few errors in the application process. Granted, students have little to no experience applying for jobs, so it is understandable that they’d lack the sophistication that the professional candidates demonstrated. They did, however, make some very undesirable mistakes in the application process. Here are the 6 biggest mistakes they made.
1. Many NYIT student applicants did not follow the application instructions. Applicants were advised to submit their resumes to me and to copy another recipient. Only about half of the students who applied actually sent their resumes to two of us. Students were also asked to answer a question as part of the application process. Very few actually did this.
2. Emails and cover letters were painfully informal. Each time I saw a lowercase “i” used as the formal pronoun “I”, I had to resist from pressing the delete button. Some applicants did not even proof their resumes or cover letters before submitting them, as was evident in the misspellings and grammatical errors. Professional emails – to anyone other than friends – should not use IM language.
3. Resumes were not tailored to the position for which the candidate was applying. Biology and Architecture majors sent in resumes with objectives that read, “To obtain a position in Biology, or to secure an internship in Architecture”. No positions were posted in those areas. Always make your resume reflect the position you are seeking.
4. Applicants did not make it known for which position they were applying or on which campus. I had no idea which position some students wanted, especially if they had an unrelated objective, lived in MA but took classes on OW, and did not mention for which job they were best qualified.
5. Some students addressed me as “Dear Sir,” yet I am a woman. When the position you are seeking is on the campus in which you study, it is not too difficult to find out a little about the department or the staff posting the position. A little research goes a long way. If unsure of the hiring manager’s gender, even after you do some investigative work, stick with, “Dear Amy Bravo” (use full name), or “To Whom It May Concern”. A simple call to the Human Resources department could help clarify some basic questions.
6. While follow-up is essential, harassment is unnecessary. If you submit your application on Monday, then calling on Friday to ensure your resume was received is acceptable. If you submit your resume at 10am on Monday, and then email and call 3-5 times a week thereafter, that is a bit too much. Oftentimes, the hiring process is overwhelming and is not the only responsibility of a person coordinating the process. Incessant calls, emails, and impromptu in person “follow-up” visits are not only inadvisable, they are off-putting and can be the only reason you wouldn’t get the job.
After reviewing dozens of resumes for the Community Service Centers, I felt it necessary to comment on the “”throwing spaghetti on the wall” application process. John Hyde, the Dean of Career Services says that when students send resumes to any and every job opening in the hopes one would get them a job, it is similar to throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping that at least one noodle will stick.
I propose that you make your job search more intentional.
You and the hiring manager should know which job you are seeking and why. Most importantly, you both should know why you are the best candidate for the position. If you need help with your resume or cover letter, preparing for the interview, or with brushing up on your professional etiquette, visit Career Services in Salten Hall-OW or room 611 in 16 West 61st Street. Or you can visit us online (www.nyit.edu/cs) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here (online 24/7) to help.
Save the Spaghetti for the celebration dinner you’ll have after you get the job!