Today I want to share with you some commonly overlooked details and mistakes people make during the interview process and job application process.
A recurring theme in this list will be accidentally disclosing information that makes you look less experienced than you actually are.
Whether you’re new to the professional world and just starting to build a network or a seasoned employee, this list contains overlooked things that people do and details they reveal that makes them come off a little less experienced.
Mistake #1: Your email address discloses the year you were born
The first point I want to share with you is quite possibly one of the most commonly overlooked details. I’m not sure about you, but whenever I see a 70, 80 or 90 in someone’s email address, I automatically calculate their age.
Throughout the job application process, it’s important to avoid disclosing any information that reveals your age. I’m talking to you firstname.lastname@example.org.
Never include your birth year in your email address, especially if you use it for job applications. It’s an easy way to accidentally reveal your age, which can, unfortunately, affect your chances of landing a job. Although age discrimination is illegal in the workplace, knowing someone’s age, unfortunately, does affect some hiring manager’s decision when deciding if they feel an applicant is qualified which can hurt you when applying for your first management position.
Now, I’m aware that age ain’t nothing but a number, but the truth is people do catch on to these details and they can subconsciously affect a person’s hiring decisions.
If you already have an email address with your birth year, consider making a separate email address that you use for professional communication. If your first name last name at domain is taken, add your birth month or day to the end of your email address instead of your birth year.
Mistake #2: Sharing your graduation dates
Another big mistake people make is sharing their graduation date when it’s no longer relevant. This could be on your resume, Linkedin profile or social media bios. First things first, once you’re in college, there’s no reason to list your high school. It’s assumed you went.
The truth is, you don’t need to provide your graduation date on your resume. If your employer wants to verify your transcripts, that’s one thing, but it’s not necessary to include this detail when applying for a job, because again - it reveals your age.
Mistake #3: Failing to provide relevant media and links
It’s almost 2018, which means we’re living in “the future” where technology surrounds our everyday existence. This is an incredible thing for job seekers who are hardworking and willing to do what it takes to stand out to hiring managers.
One of the best ways to stand out in an interview is to provide relevant media or links to live projects. If you’re a graphic designer, this could be getting featured in a design magazine. If you’re a developer, this could be mean you use Github regularly. Sharing links to either of these would serve as an extension of your resume and portfolio.
Also, the truth is, having these supplemental documents is a major game changer for entry-level applicants. It’s one thing to study thing for four years, but it’s another to create your own portfolio pieces outside of school.
If you want a job in social media, start a blog. If you are an aspiring artist, share your work on Instagram.
Mistake #4: You’re not quantifiable when speaking about your work history
Instead of listing your job duties on your resume, consider quantifying your work. Mentioning how much revenue you closed each quarter or how many support tickets you closed daily are two samples.
It helps you explain what you’ve accomplished at a company, vs what you were simply in charge of. This separates what you did vs what you were supposed to do.
Mistake #5: You’re using an old or obscure email address
Again, it’s almost 2018. If you’re applying for a job with an old AIM, HOTMAIL, YAHOO or another obscure email server, you may be doing yourself a disservice. I highly recommend using a Gmail or YourCompany.Com as an email address. Here’s why.
If you’re applying for a job in tech or that requires you to be tech savvy, you’ll likely be using collaboration tools like Google Apps or Microsoft for Teams. If you’re using Google, you have access to Google apps and if you have a custom domain email, you’re at least savvy enough to know that they exist and install it. On top of your resume, experience, and interview, these are additional indicators that show you’re aware of technology.
Mistake #6: You don’t format your resume for applicant tracking systems
When you apply for a job online, your resume is commonly scanned by an applicant tracking system that takes your resume and makes sense of the information provided.
When it works, it takes data like your name, email, previous job titles and education details and puts them into an organized system where recruiters can sift through every application received in one place. It also lets the recruiter know if you’re worth considering for a role.
When it doesn’t work, your resume isn’t considered. End of story. It’s important to format your resume correctly and test your resume to see if it can be scanned by this software.
Mistake #7: Providing old or unclickable links on your resume
This one goes back to us acknowledging that it’s 2018 and technology has made it super easy for us to do this. Any link that you provide on your resume should be a clickable hyperlink, not just the typed out address. This saves recruiters time. It's your job to keep their interest and to make their life easier during the recruitment process.
Mistake #8: You fail to make your resume or portfolio visual
When I first started freelancing, I took screenshots of my portfolio pieces and sample readings that can be found online and linked them to the actual live body of work online. This was a game changer for me as it helped me stand out to potential employers and clients when I was new to the industry.
It was much easier to consume and understand my skills this way instead of just sending a list of links.
Mistake #9: You don’t have a Linkedin profile
Consider a Linkedin profile the online version of your resume. It exists on a platform where recruiters and clients actively search for people to work with based on their experience. It’s like Google for job seekers.
It’s an extremely useful job search tool, free to join, and it’s the first place where many hiring managers start their research on job applicants.
Mistake #10: You provide your full address on your resume
I stopped putting my full address on my resume when I first start applying for jobs in New York City and the reason why is pretty simple.
I started to think to myself if someone isn't responding to my job application, why should I feel comfortable sharing them where I sleep at night?
You don’t need to include your full address on your resume. It’s irrelevant and takes up prime real estate. If you apply for a job it’s assumed that you know where the job will take place and are willing to commute if given an offer.
The second reason why you shouldn’t disclose your full address is because of hiring bias. A hiring manager may assume you’ll be a troublesome employee based on the history of the town you live in or it’s distance.
These are assumptions that some job seekers can’t afford to risk.
For example, when I lived in Los Angeles, I was willing to commute from the Westside of LA to DTLA for work. I didn’t care about traffic. So on my resume, I said I lived in Los Angeles, CA.
Some hiring managers would find where I lived problematic as it’s far, but it never posed a problem, therefore, no one needed to truly know.