I have been providing job search tips on the pages of WNYJOBS.com for 25+ years. During those years, I sincerely hope that the guidance provided has assisted many of our readers in finding new positions. 

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to be done sharpening the skills of some job seekers. Many people are still making errors that range from hurting their chances, all the way to ending any possibility they have of landing the position they are seeking. 

Each year, I compile common and easily correctible errors I see job seekers making and share them with all of you. All in the spirit of using real world examples to learn and either correct current behavior or avoid falling into the trap that others have found themselves in. 

Let’s now examine some actual job search errors and what you should do instead.

• Resume Length – Nothing has recently changed in terms of the commonly accepted resume length. In most situations, a resume should be one to a maximum of two pages in length. There may be some industries, such as education or healthcare, where longer resumes are OK due to the need to include additional detailed information. For almost everyone else, shorter is better. I have actually recently received several professional-level resume applicants that contain up to six pages in length. The candidates basically in detail outlined everything that they ever did in each position. The problem with taking this approach is that no recruiter will read all of this material and the length of the resume will probably cause many to file your document due to the effort it would take to review.

• Provide Your Contact Information – This one seems pretty amazing, but I have actually seen it a few times recently. A person’s resume contains their mailing address but omits an e-mail or any phone numbers for contact. Not sure what the candidate is thinking, as writing a letter and mailing it will not work for any recruiter. 

• Video Interview Mistakes – Many recruiters and hiring managers are deciding to do screenings via a video interview, rather than face-to-face. This used to be done only in out-of-state first interviews rather than absorbing the expense of flying someone in. It changed significantly during COVID to become a primary way to interview and now has settled into a nice niche, mainly for first round screening. So, with video interviewing now being extensively used for a number of years, it is amazing how many candidates still struggle with the concept. What are some of the mistakes I am seeing?

1. Not Checking Equipment Ahead of Time – You should be ready to go at the time of interview, so make sure that you have the software downloaded, whether it be MS Teams, Zoom, etc. Most recruiters have consecutive interviews throughout their day, so any delay throws off their entire schedule. Log on to your computer to make sure that your camera is working and that you have downloaded any Windows or other updates that you are required to do. You do not want to keep your interviewer waiting while you figure the technology out.

2. Be In a Place Where You Can Interview – You should preferably interview in a private office setting, using a regular computer camera. I do not recommend using a mobile phone or sitting in a car for your interview. It is very hard to look good holding a phone up, trying to figure out where to look, and answering questions. What happens is that you end up appearing distracted (or even disoriented) as your eyes wander around your car and you lose your train of thought.

3. Be Ready When Going Live – When logging on, you may want your camera and microphone off until you are officially connected. I have recently witnessed everything from people fiddling with their hair and touching up makeup to mumbling some comment when they have appeared live on the video call.

4. Have a Professional Look – You still want to dress appropriately for the interview unless instructed otherwise by the hiring manager. Don’t assume, since it is a video interview, that you can dress down. A final note is to make sure your background looks professional by using a standard “canned” downloadable look rather than your messy living room or bedroom.

• Don’t Debate Your Interviewer – While a hiring manager will generally appreciate a candidate who has an opinion and can articulate it, do not have this come at the expense of insulting or correcting this person. I have recently had multiple individuals who decided to tell me that they would rather use a different term than my company uses to describe something. In doing so, their approach only served to semi-offend, which is not a direction a person should move towards. Save the debate for after you start and have built a relationship with the hiring manager.

In many situations, the difference between being hired for a position and being placed on the regret pile can be relatively small. Making a simple error, such as having a resume too long or not being ready for a video interview, may be all it takes for you not to obtain an offer.

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein


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