We recently hired a new administrative assistant, and it brought to mind some things you might want to review with your readers.
1. We scoured the resumes and applications for typos, because accuracy in proofreading is important in our business. Very few applicants passed this test.
2. Some people shared too much. It was not helpful to the candidate to indicate she was leading Emotions Anonymous groups. We figured that if she felt compelled to put it on her resume, she hadn't worked past her emotions to the point where it wasn't a major part of her life. (Had we hired her and then learned she led such groups, we would have respected her contribution to society.)
3. People shouldn't take a "no" personally. We liked all three candidates we chose to interview (out of 70 applicants) and would have been happy with any of them. - Diane
Kate: It pleases us to find that managers are reading this column, wanting insights into the minds of employees. And sometimes hiring managers like Diane take the time to pass advice along to our readers, thus completing the circle of insights. We especially appreciate the chance to get a glimpse of an employer's "pet peeves."
Dale: I'm glad Diane mentioned the TMI problem - Too Much Information. Some applicants bring up personal information in the hope of making a human connection. However, there's a more than offsetting chance of disconnection. Whenever you put any nonwork details into the application process - whether it's a list of the sailing trophies you've won or comments on your recent divorce - it strikes most hiring managers as out of place, inviting them to wonder, "If she doesn't know how to play the Job Application game, then maybe she doesn't know the rules of the Getting Along at Work game." An unfair leap? Sure. But when you're faced with a stack of 70 applicants that you want to winnow down to three interviewees, your mind is going to make leaps.
Kate: On the other hand, no leaps are required for typos. If you have them, then you don't know how to play the game. Get a professional resume writer to help with your materials, or get at least two perfectionist friends to do meticulous proofreading. Better yet, do both. Get rid of the distractions and help the reader's eye to leap to what you want it to see.