Are You Lacking in Substance?

Red hardcover book with blank pagesWith my son in school, Valentine’s Day is now a blip on his screen. His class is having a party, so we needed to purchase Valentine’s Day cards for his classmates. He was quickly drawn to the box that was decorated with his favorite characters. They seemed to be what we were looking for, so we purchased those cards. I opened the box at home…

The box contained three sheets with nine valentines each. No envelopes, no special valentine for the teacher (though the box was certainly big enough to contain them). Just three little sheets with 27 1.5″ X 2.5″ cards.

That was it? The contents of the box fell far below what I expected to see when I opened it. All style on the outside, no substance on the inside.

Are you creating those same feelings of disappointment in the interviewers you talk with?

Say that you have a good résumé and cover letter that articulate the value you brought to your past employers and show promise of future accomplishments. HR and the hiring manager believe that you possess qualities the company is looking for, so they call you to schedule an interview. But you neglect to do any preparations for the interview. The day of the interview comes and this is what happens:

  • You stumble over your words.
  • You draw a blank when you are asked to give an example of a time you failed and what you learned from that failure. (Hint: this might be one of those times!)
  • You neglect to bring copies of your résumé with you.
  • You don’t have any questions.
  • She reminds you of a friend from college, so you call the interviewer “Cindy” repeatedly throughout the interview. Her name is Jill.

Do you look like such a quality candidate now? Clearly not. While your cover letter and résumé were good enough to give you this opportunity, you can’t expect them to seal the deal. You just look like someone who is all style on the outside, no substance on the inside.

When I think about those cheap valentines I bought for my son, I know I will never do that again. Heck, having a fun craft weekend to make valentines for his class would be more substantial. I have other options.

And so do the hiring managers.

Image courtesy of Horia Varlan

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Comments

  1. Career Sherpa
    Twitter: careersherpa
    says:

    Melissa,
    Wonderful points! I can relate to the whole Valentine’s card thing! One could almost call it false advertising.

    The 5 common errors you list are SO preventable! Can I add not knowing what the company does to your list as well.

    Preparing is more than just showing up so thanks for re-enforcing this!

    • Melissa Cooley
      Twitter: TheJobQuest
      says:

      Thanks for your comments, Hannah! I would agree with you about the “false advertising.” It’s appalling how the quality has suffered over time.

      And yes — not knowing the company’s activities is also a big one in which job seekers drop the ball. Thank you for bringing that point up! It’s so sad how candidates suffer; all of these could be avoided with a little extra care in the process of the job hunt.

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