Thursday, May 22, 2008

Things not to do when applying for jobs via email

I have been going through several hundred resumes for the past week since our company ran an advertisement for recruitment. The response had been fabulous if you take the sheer number of applicants.

In this day and age, the most preferred way to accept resumes is through email. Email is fast, both for the applicant and to the company, and it allows rules based processing of hundreds of applications. So if you are not careful in how you send your resume across via email, chances are your resume may not go to the required person.

Your job application to a company created the first impression about you. So you have to be careful about how you do that.

Make sure your name that appears on the email is your proper name. I was not impressed by the emails coming from names such as 'cool dude', 'slgirls', etc.

Make sure the subject of the email is proper. Sometimes the advertisement will ask you to put a reference number or a particular text as the subject. Do as exactly as instructed in such cases as these may be processed by email routing rules. So if you don't follow their instructions, chances are your application will get lost!

Even if the advertisement was not specific about the subject line, use a proper subject for the email. The name of the post being applied for is a good bet.

Never send out emails with blank subject lines or generic ones such as Resume, CV, etc. That doesn't appear professional or gives a good impression about you. That will certainly give the impression of missing out on details.

Multiple To Addresses
There were emails which were sent out to several companies in one email. That is not a good thing either. If you were trying to create demand for yourself, you better think of better ways of doing that. It certainly gives the impression that you could not be bothered to send out separate emails for all the jobs you were applying. If that is your attitude when applying for the job, what will recruiters think of your conduct when you get the job?

Mail Body
There were several errors made in this aspect, which could have definitely been avoided if you were a bit careful. Some email bodies had previous mail forward information included, which showed me what you had been applying for over a few weeks. All it would have taken is the simple task of deleting the previous email history from the body.

There was one email which had a cover letter addressed to a different company!!! What does that tell me about the applicant?

It is always a good idea to write a short cover note on the email body, highlighting your experience or qualifications or skills which are relevant to the vacancy. Telling me about thing that I am not interested in, certainly will not score any marks for you.

Make sure that you attach your resume before you send your email. I had a few mails without resumes. Some had cover notes, and some didn't have anything to go by. How do you expect a recruiter to asses your suitability if there is no resume!

Then there were two resumes which were password protected. What are you expecting me to do? Email you back and ask for the password?

As much as possible avoid sending your resume is rare file formats. There were a few file formats which could not be opened. Good examples are avoid latest .docx or the .odt formats. You may be using the latest MS office or the another application, but don't expect your receiver to use the same. Also avoid sending them as zip files.

Send them as RTF or more common doc formats. The best bet is PDF.

Resume Content
Make sure your resume highlights your skills, qualifications and experience necessary for the job. If the advertisement had asked for specific skills, tools or technologies, highlight them in your profile. For example, we specifically asked for people with .NET/C# experience or expertise. I got a load of resumes which highlighted their Java experience and expertise, with no mention of .NET/C#.

When I was scanning through the resumes, I was looking for specific keywords; .NET/C#, ASP.NET. And when it came to looking for work experiences, we were looking for specific experiences. I had hundreds of resumes to go through, I could not spare hours on one!

Also, always list your most recent or most relevant qualifications first. Starting your qualification list with the first public exam you faced will surely bury your more relevant qualifications! Same goes for experience profile as well.

But most of the resumes failed to address the requirements we had listed in the advertisement.

These are general comments I thought of sharing after me experience of processing the resumes. Always keep in mind that you need to make sure your email reaches the right person and once it reaches that person, make it easy for them to open and view your resume.

We hope to start the interview process somewhere next week. More on that once we conclude that.