The first step to landing that dream job is impressing the recruiter, which is why it’s pretty imperative to make yourself look good. Recruiters have seen it all, and each one of them has a pet peeve about what they don’t want to see job-seekers doing. The last thing you want to do is annoy a recruiter with one of the clichés he or she loathes. You could just throw your resume in the trash while you’re at it.

You want to stand out for all the right reasons. The next time you’re applying for a job, make sure you stop yourself from making any of these mistakes:

  1. Not Following Directions. Recruiters have taken the time to share details about the job and instructions for the application process. If you don’t take the time to read and follow all directions carefully, you pretty much wasted the time you spent applying because you’re not getting the interview. Period.
  2. Typos. Whether it’s in your resume, cover letter or the subject of your email, these little errors can ruin an application. Re-read everything and make sure you aren’t messing up commonly confused words. The very last thing you want to do is tell a recruiter that you pay great attention to “detial,” although they might get a good laugh out of it.
  3. Informal Responses. Always remember that you should be sending professional emails back and forth with the recruiter. Even if the recruiter is not sending detailed responses, yours should be thorough. Recruiters hate seeing informal spelling and phrases that belong in a text message. Avoid smiley faces, all abbreviations and slang. This goes for phone calls, too. Be professional when answering the phone and be sure to speak clearly, professionally, and politely at all times.
  4. Stalking Them. It always looks great to send a thank you note or to follow up if you haven’t heard back in a while, but these should be sparse. Don’t think that a while means 24 hours. If you’re calling, emailing or leaving voicemails daily, you’ve gone too far, my friend. Recruiters are extremely busy, and you are not the only person they are currently dealing with. Give it a break and you might get the job.
  5. Lengthy Resumes/Cover Letters. There is pretty much no excuse for your resume to be longer than a page. You want to keep it clean and concise, so remove these useless things from your resume. Going over a page does not make you look over-qualified, but it might keep a recruiter from finishing reading it. The same is true for cover letters. These should be brief, so keep it short and sweet. Leave the recruiter wanting to know more about you, not less.
  6. Paragraphs on Your Resume. This piggybacks off of that last one, but it’s separate. Your resume can be a page and still be obnoxiously long. You want to use short, bulleted sentences to illustrate your past experience; there is no reason to drone on for paragraphs. That will keep a recruiter away from your file forever.
  7. Awkward Insertions of Buzzwords. We all know you’re a hard worker and are probably creative, responsible and effective, like the rest of LinkedIn. Pick your words wisely and don’t make them feel forced. If the recruiter feels like they’re reading a list of buzzwords with a little experience mixed in, it’s time to rethink the ratio.
  8. Slow Replies. Aren’t you in a hurry to get hired? Don’t leave the recruiter hanging and take days to reply. Be prompt and show that you really care about the position. This will also make the process go a lot faster.
  9. Showing up Late. You should always be early to an interview or meeting, even if it means standing in the hall waiting your turn. Once again, being prompt shows that this opportunity is important to you and worth waiting for. It also helps strengthen your argument for good time management on your resume.
  10. Inappropriate Dress. Once you’ve made it to the interview stage of recruitment, it’s time to really sell yourself. If you don’t take the time to look put together and professional, it’s going to feel like you’re wasting the recruiter’s time. You want to prove that you’ve put as much thought into the color of your nail polish as you did the application. Always dress the part.
  11. Poor Communication. Obviously you want to get  your recruiter to like you. You’re not going to do that if you’re not listening and communicating properly. Stay engaged during all conversations by asking insightful questions, and take notes if you need to. Asking your recruiter about something they already stated is a sure way to lose the job.
  12. Full Voice Mailbox. This has got to be the worst for recruiters. If the recruiter tries to get in contact with you, but can’t leave a message because your mailbox is full, there is no saving yourself. You want to show that you are active and up-to-date with technology; not letting cobwebs grow on your voicemail. You should be expecting and prepared to take a call. Make sure your message greeting is a professional one, too. Recruiters have no patience for childish recordings.

If you’ve managed to avoid these 10 errors, you’ve escaped the worst of it. Now you can confidently go after the position you’ve always dreamed of.

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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