When it comes to job hunting, there’s tons of advice floating around—always arrive to the interview 20 minutes early, make sure you send a follow-up note, the list goes on and on. And if you find yourself doing all the things you’re supposed to do but still get crickets, it’s possible you’re following some outdated pieces of advice that are doing you more harm than good. Below, seven reasons nobody’s calling you back for that job application, according to the pros at career site, FlexJobs.
1. Handing in a one-page resume
The point of a resume isn’t just to show a potential employer your most recent experience, but it’s to also show your career progression. Unless you’re a recent grad, it’s generally okay to have a two-page resume. It shows you’re not new to the field and will come with relevant experience. Limiting yourself to a single page may lead employers to pass under the assumption that you’re not experienced enough.
2. Including every job you’ve ever had on your resume
That said, loading your resume with a bunch of irrelevant experience may also work against you. Your bout as camp counselor back in the summer of 2008 is not nearly as relevant as your stint as a manager at McDonald’s in 2016. When applicable, ditch all those early jobs in favor filling that space with more recent and in-depth examples of why you’re perfect for the role. A one-page resume that has relevant experience will appear stronger than a two-pager with nothing but fluff.
3. Offering a positive framed as a weakness when asked about your weaknesses
We’ve all heard this one before. The general idea behind this concept is that you don’t want to give your interviewer any reason not to hire you. However, managers want to know that you’re self-aware and can be self-critical. They want someone who can not only improve while on the job but can also take constructive criticism. Saying things like, “I work too hard,” or “I’m a perfectionist” can come off as insincere and unoriginal, resulting in being ghosted after a perfectly fine interview. Instead, be honest about a weakness and provide concrete ways you’ve worked to overcome it.
4. Being too formal in your resume and cover letter
If you’re applying to be the next chief of surgery at a mega-hospital, then by all means, use a formal tone when submitting your resume and cover letter. However, if you’re applying for a role where your personality is key—think salesperson, editor or public relations rep—then infusing that in your cover letter shouldn’t be an issue. Don’t forget to do your due diligence—research the company and its culture and use language that matches their tone and voice.
5. Including an objective and a photo on your resume
Times are changing, and putting a photo on your resume might actually spook a hiring manager and land your resume right in the trash pile. Reserve that for your LinkedIn page instead. In place of an objective, include a summary of your resume or summary of qualifications that indicates essential reasons why an employer should hire you. And while we’re here, refrain from adding “references available upon request.” Your potential employer already expects you to have some, so there’s no need to mention it, says FlexJobs.
6. Wearing a suit to an interview
Ah, yes. One of the biggest myths out there is that you need to wear a power suit in order to be taken seriously. But, just like the formal language on a resume, your outfit choice should be congruent with the company to which you’re applying. One small caveat though: If the company’s dress code is flip flops, cargo shorts and graphic tees, it’s always wise to dress up a little bit for the interview, then join in the laid-back fashions once you get the job.
7. Staying at a job for several years
While staying at one company can show that you’re dedicated and loyal, it can also raise some red flags. Employers need to know that you’re flexible, willing to learn and open to change. People that hop from job to job or even career to career are no longer viewed with suspicion, the experts at FlexJobs note, as long as you can explain why you’ve job hopped and how it could benefit the employer.