Bet I got you hooked with that title?
I made what I feel to be an important conclusion regarding many of my jobseekers and why they haven’t yet returned to work: they don’t follow instructions.
At least three times in the past week I have given explicit instructions on how to improve a resume, only to get the same thing back when the work was done. Now I realize resumes can be mystifying to those who have not needed them in the past several years, but how hard is it to understand “take off work history older than ten years”?
I teach a Perfecting Applications module from time to time. In it I talk about the importance of following instructions when filling out job applications. Employers screen out job applicants who do not.
I hand out a questionnaire. It starts with a statement of instructions, including the instruction NOT to answer any of the questions until after you have read all of them. After several questions about basic information – name, occupation sought, etc – Question 7 says to not complete any answer on this form except Question 10 (which asks if you read the instructions at the start). Additionally, I tell my students they have 5 minutes to complete this questionnaire. The pressure of time makes most of my students skip the instructions. Toward the end of the 5 minutes I hear an audible reaction as most of them realize their error.
Job seekers feel under the gun to get things right and do so quickly. I think that’s why many people still use the “spray and pray” approach to sending out resumes – it’s quick, easy, and gives the feeling of widespread accomplishment. Surely one of those employers will bite. Usually they do not.
Sometimes the instructions can be confusing. There is no harm in asking an HR representative to clarify the process. I tell my jobseekers to do that all the time. Yet they don’t. I wonder why – is it that they feel they will be screened out because they asked a question?
It may take a little longer to read and understand all the instructions given in applying for a job. It may be a little more intensive and tedious to follow instructions an employment specialist gives on improving your resume. But in my experience it is the ones who do who get back to work faster.
- How To Fill Out A Job Application (answers.com)
- Finding Work in 2012: Create a Strategy (myfoxphoenix.com)
- Today’s Motivation… Find The Career Of Your Destiny! (philammann.com)