Five Things Job Seekers Should Never Do

By Beth Zefo
Co-author of Grad to Great (Dalidaze Press, 2007)

1. Don’t neglect to mention transferable skills to an employer.

A transferable skill is a skill you possess that can be applied across multiple disciplines. Recent graduates often neglect to point out their transferable skills to employers because they haven’t taken the time to think about what they are. Knowing what your transferable skills are can be a major asset in the interview process. For example, if the person interviewing you asks about whether or not you possess enough work experience in a particular area, emphasizing your transferable skills—like resourcefulness—could really come to the rescue.

2. Do not ask about vacation time on a first interview.

When you ask about benefits, pay, or time off on a first interview, you give the interviewer the impression that you have a “what’s in it for me” mentality. If you act more concerned about what the company has to offer you, as opposed to what skills you can contribute to the company, you may not get called back for many second interviews. In order to make the best first impression you can, it’s much better to focus on your enthusiasm for the position and on what you bring to the table. Make them so excited about wanting to hire you that by the time salary and vacation time negotiations come up, you’ll be in a position to negotiate.

3. Don’t Forget to Send a Thank You Note.

Immediately following your interview, send a thank you letter via e-mail to the people you spoke with. It’s not a bad idea to send a handwritten note as well, but many hiring managers prefer email these days.

4. Don’t Self-Select Out of the Interview Process.

When looking for a job it is important not to self-select out. If you have sent a resume in to a company you are interested in, don’t assume you have been rejected for the position just because you do not receive an immediate response. Follow up and make sure the resume was received. Keep yourself in the running for the position by being proactive and following up with the company you want to work for.

In addition, don’t decide not to apply for a position that you know you would love simply because you are lacking a few of the requirements listed in the job posting. If you can develop a rapport with the interviewer, your enthusiasm and people skills just may win you the job. You may also discover during the interview process that you may not have all the skills they were initially looking for, but after meeting you they are willing to modify the job slightly to make it work.

5. Don’t Lose Confidence.

Jobseekers most not lose confidence in their skills and abilities during the job search process. During the job search process it is essential to exude confidence. Make sure before you enter a job interview you are convinced that you are right for the job. Remember, if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will!

Beth Zefo, co-author of Grad to Great, is a human resources professional with General Motors. She currently supervises over 1100 hourly employees. She has experience organizing career fairs, working with labor unions, salary employees, and college recruits. During her past 10 years with General Motors, she has held various positions in several functional areas including: supply chain management, supplier quality engineering, new product launch, corporate communications, and human resources. Beth graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. from the College of Engineering. She received her MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University.