If you read jobseeker blogs and online comments, you're aware of the frequent disconnect between job seekers and hiring managers. It's surprisingly common to hear people talk about how perfect they are for a particular job, but they aren't given a chance to show it. They see the obstacle as the hiring company – adhering too closely to job descriptions, not thinking outside the box, not appreciating colorful resume fonts.
In reality, the problem is often a disconnect between how we see ourselves and how others see us. Here are a few scenarios that show how our intentions may not be in sync with the results:
Why did you leave your last job?
"I have a lot of innovative ideas, but at my last job, my boss wanted to promote his own agenda rather than implement other people's ideas."
What you meant: You're a creative thinker who will bring value to the company if you're given the chance.
What they heard: You think you're smarter than the people you work with, including your bosses.
How does your experience make you the best person for this job?
"Like my resume said, I've got six years of public relations experience, although at my company, they called it customer service."
What you meant: While your recent experience isn't in the industry you're applying for, your skills translate well to the open position.
What they heard: You don't understand the job requirements.
In your cover letter, briefly explain why you are the best person for this job
"….so in summation, the experience I outlined on page one and the work ethic demonstrated by the anecdote at the bottom of page two (second paragraph) combines to make me the best candidate."
What you meant: You are excited about the opportunity and want to emphasize why you're the best person for the job.
What they heard: You are terrible at following directions, or you don't know what "brief" means.
Please include current contact information
"I look forward to working with you. You can contact me at DrunkAgain@example.com."
What you meant: I really want this job. Here's my contact information, which hasn't changed since I was in college.
What they heard: You don't have a strong grasp of "professionalism." Or even a weak grasp of it.
It can be hard to edit ourselves – sometimes we don't know we're doing something wrong, and sometimes when we think we've got something "right," we tend to stop looking for ways to improve. But if you keep applying for jobs that you think you are perfect for with disappointing results, it's time to ask whether the impression you're leaving is the impression you want to make.