Interview questions and structured interviewing
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Mistakes to Avoid in Contacting an Employer

Pam N. Woods

There are numerous tools and resources available to guide job seekers through the steps of a career transition. These tools are very useful and suggest much that you should do. At the same time, some individuals benefit equally by learning what to avoid. If you count yourself in this latter group here is a laundry list of things that "turn off" an employer. Make sure you steer clear of the following:

  1. Don't submit your cover letter and resume using every format known to man.
    Don't fax, e-mail and hardcopy; one submission is sufficient.

  2. Don't "stalk" the employer.
    Calling and e-mailing daily to see if you have been selected for an interview looks needy and will not encourage the employer to contact you.

  3. Don't say in your cover letter that you'll call the employer and then not call.
    Better yet, don't say you intend to call. Employers don't have time to field calls from every applicant.

  4. Don't ignore the employer's directions regarding the submission of your qualifications.
    For example - if an employer has advertised for a technical writer and requested three writing samples, send three samples. I once received an e-mail from one applicant saying he had so many great samples that he was unable to decide upon three, so he wasn't sending any.

  5. Don't call the employer and ask them to tell you more about the job before submitting your resume.
    If you see a position advertised that looks appealing, go for it. You can get the details later.

  6. Don't e-mail and forget to provide the attachments or provide attachments that are blank.

  7. Don't ask if the job is still open within a week or two of an advertisement.
    Whether the job is open or not is almost irrelevant. You will want to give yourself as many options as possible and getting your resume on file can be important, especially if the employer's initial offer isn't accepted or an additional candidate is needed.

  8. Don't expect the employer to do your homework.
    It's your job to research the employer. Search the internet, go to the library, and utilize your network to see what information is available about the company.

  9. Don't send a resume without a cover letter.
    Simply stated, most employers view this as being lazy.

  10. Don't make it hard for the employer to place you.
    Employers frequently have more than one opportunity available, thus it is important that you specify the position for which you are applying.