How to Instantly Put Your Job Search in the Crapper

Some consider a resume and/or cover letter the most important professional documents to represent a person’s overall level of competence and credibility when pursuing employment opportunities. In fact for most US employers resumes/cover letters are the standard preliminary evaluation tools.

Therefore, I’m constantly astonished that so many people routinely submit error-ridden correspondence when the stakes are so high. Having to sort through stacks of lousy resumes is one of the most common recruiter complaints. The high-volume of applications and applicant tracking system black-hole syndrome does factor in to response rate, but doesn’t deserve anywhere the amount of blame as bad resumes. 


Perhaps it seems unfair that people are being assessed by how they appear on paper (or on a screen), but that is why they say you only have one chance to make a great first impression. Some of the same sloppiness found on resumes and cover letters can be spotted on LinkedIn profiles as well. It puzzles me that so many career marketing messages reflect a lax attitude about attention to detail and obvious willingness to overlook easily preventable mistakes.

Effective and accurate communication skills tends to be one of the most universally expected qualifications across all types and levels of jobs. I realize that there are situations where that may not be the primary focus of a person’s job. However, those tend to be in categories where resumes and cover letters are not expected and applicants simply complete employment applications instead. Either way, it is still preferable regardless of document type, to receive content minus glaring errors such as typos, misspelled words, poor grammar, incorrect word usage, inconsistent formatting, unattractive fonts and so on…

No one expects the average person to be an expert profile, resume or cover letter writer, but most people in the hiring process do expect basic demonstration of written communication proficiency. Even if those fundamental literacy and quality assurance aspects are not critical for the initial position in question, I have seen plenty of people passed over for promotions and career advancement due to communication challenges. 

Anyone applying for jobs and not getting responses really should take an objective look at how their information is coming across to prospective employers. Make sure you are not flushing your reputation down the toilet by distributing information that makes the reader say: “this stinks!”

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies and compelling, customized communication materials to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!




  1. jrenzella said

    Reblogged this on Recruitment via Jess.

  2. […] Job searching can be a crappy process, don’t make it worse – […]

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