Why You Weren’t Hired

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc. 

As the owner of a company, I regularly receive cover letters and resumes from people looking for work. Looking for a new job isn’t easy and, unfortunately these days, it usually isn’t quick. That’s why I’m always surprised when I receive letters and resumes that pretty much eliminate someone from consideration before I even finish reading. That might sound harsh, but it’s a reality. Here are a few things to make note of: 

  • For Heaven’s sake, get the name of the company right. This happens more often that you might think. 
  • I’m not one of those people who will toss a letter because of a single typo. But when you tell me you’re an expert proofreader, and your letter is filledwith errors, it makes me doubt what else you have to say.
  • Don’t say you’re a strong candidate for our opening for an inside sales position (or any other job title) when my company isn’t advertising for any open position. Did you forget to take this line out from your previous letter? 
  • Know what our company does. It’s easy to find out online.We often receive letters stating the person wants to work at our ad agency. If you look at our website, it’s clear we are a PR firm and not an ad agency.There is a difference.
  • Address your letter to a specific person; not “to whom it may concern” or “dear sir or madam.” It’s easy to find out the name of an owner, company president or VP of a department on a company website. 
  • If you’re a recent college grad; don’t try to make it seem like you have more experience than you actually do. It’s OK that you don’t. I know you’re just starting out. Tell me about relevant course work or volunteer work where you used your PR skills. Don’t say you have experience when you don’t. One person said they were experienced in crisis management, but the only example was a paper they wrote about crisis management. Again, it makes me doubt what else you have to say.
Before you think I’m totally heartless about the plight of job seekers, let me point out we acknowledge every email or letter we receive; even when we don’t have an opening. I also keep the “good” resumes on file because you never know when an opening may occur or when a client may ask if we know of someone to fill a position at their firm.
The purpose of my blog is simple: I know it’s a tough job market out there and I know it can be discouraging; so don’t eliminate yourself from consideration before a potential employer finishes reading your letter or resume.

Since turnaround is fair play; what bugs you about the job hunting process? Is there something employers do that turns you off? Love to hear your thoughts.