While on the job at my new sales associate position, I’ve seen quite a few people come into the store because they noticed the “Now Hiring” sign posted at the front of the store. Although they end up talking to the store manager, Jayson, I can’t help but eavesdrop when I’m less than 10 feet away from their conversation. I also can’t help but notice the mistakes that many of these individuals make—mistakes that would hinder anyone’s chances of landing work.
Many people that apply for jobs at my store are dressed in an entirely casual fashion, wearing t-shirts, jeans and otherwise unimpressive attire. Since countless companies require their employees to dress professionally, these job hunters are shooting themselves in the foot before they even introduce themselves.
Other applicants enthusiastically express their desire to work for our company, but when asked if they brought in a resumé the answer is far too often a disappointing “no.” Job hunters, please take note: a hiring manager will NEVER take you seriously if you don’t have a copy of your resumé with you!
Someone recently came in to talk to my boss and made these same mistakes—he was dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, and he didn’t have a copy of his resumé with him. But to make things worse he had two bags of groceries with him. This looks bad to a hiring manager because it’s painfully obvious that the applicant only stopped by because it was convenient. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to give the impression that you actually care about your job search and are genuinely interested in the position.
One girl who actually managed to bring her resumé into the store had a typo in the very first sentence; this is another thing you want to avoid at all costs, because these easily fixed errors only serve to make you seem careless and unreliable. This particular applicant also claimed to not have any sales experience, but there was a sales position clearly listed under her employment history. So, she either lied on her resumé, or she simply doesn’t know the details of her own employment experience—either way, this does not look good to a prospective employer.
Another important issue that many people fail to recognize is the actual presentation of your resumé. If you’re carrying around copies, you should keep them in some kind of folder so that they aren’t damaged. My boss says that some people bring in resumés that are folded in half or partially crumpled. “It’s your resumé, not a love note to your high school crush,” he said to me. A resumé that doesn’t look presentable will surely end up in the recycle bin.
In summary, here are some of the quintessential strategies you should use when applying for jobs in person:
- Make yourself (and your resumé) look as impressive as possible, and ensure that you have a practical way to carry them around with you.
- Know your resumé, and be honest and accurate when asked a question about your employment history.
- Have a few key points memorized that relate to the specific job you’re applying for.
You have to take your job hunt seriously if you want to be taken seriously as a potential candidate. If you treat the above tips as rules of thumb, you will greatly increase your odds of landing work. Never underestimate the power of first impressions!