It drives me crazy when I hear from people I have helped over the years say “I sent a bunch of resumes out today”.


What that tells me, is they will get no response. To be successful it takes attention to details and the ability to equate your skills and experiences to match a position. It cannot look generic; HR professionals see hundreds of resumes every day.

It is the quality of the submission and the connection within the organizations that sets you apart!

Below are common mistakes made by those who wonder why no offers are coming in.


Sending applications out without verifying you are qualified.

That strategy means you are not customizing your cover letter and resume to each position. Your cover letter should address the qualifications listed in the posting. Tell them “Why” you are the fit. If there are some shortcomings such as only 7 years of experience when they are seeking 10 years, explain your ability to exceed expectations and achieve results in each endeavor. Quantify those accomplishments.

Not building a rapport with your contact.

Establish a dialogue with a connection first. Preach the soft sell approach to what you may be seeking. Don’t be the one hit wonder, all or nothing. Whether it is at a networking event, career fair or a LinkedIn connection, you need to build trust and genuine interest. Do your homework and ask intelligent questions. Find out their career path and reference that in your conversations. Be an active listener and heed advice.

Mass resume distribution.

Use LinkedIn and identify first and second degree contacts. It is not the quantity of resumes you send out that makes a difference. What make you stand out? A connection within the company sets you apart. Use that connection to bypass the clutter. No one wants to sift through 200-500 resumes. Companies really like referrals from quality team members as solid performers don’t recommend slackers to their superiors. It can ruin their reputation. So, use quality connections and focus on a few resumes at a time for submission and then reference that you interested in working for that company to your connection.

Don’t be a Hound dog!

Following up on an application is a good idea but continual checkups are a turn off to HR professionals. It appears to be a desperate move. Always heed the response when reaching out a second time. If indeed you had a phone screen and they said they will get back to you in a week, wait that week out and then send a courtesy communication. “I wanted to check in on the status of my application. I had a phone screen and was told I would hear something back in a week. It has been over a week and I was hopeful for an update. Is the position still open? Am I still under consideration? I am very interested in this position and feel my skills and experience would be an asset to your team. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.”

“I’m a hard worker.”

Really? Everyone says that! Do you really think someone would say “I’m lazy” when asked “why should we hire you?”. Find some skills or experience that relates to the position or a personal trait that makes you stand out. Perhaps reference a unique accomplishment or obstacles you’ve overcome. This is your time to separate yourself from the pack. Tell why you are UNIQUE and why does that make you the ONE for the job. It might be some volunteer work you have done or outside interests that demonstrate teamwork or commitment.