It’ll take more than spell-checking your résumé and giving a nice firm handshake. Tony Lee, publisher of CareerCast.com, on the biggest red flags for recruiters.

 

1. Being too casual

 

Sometimes, being your lovable, charming self isn’t the best
approach. “One of the biggest problems is people think of themselves as
being pretty smart, so they think they can wing it — they’ll impress
companies and interviewers and recruiters just by being themselves,”
says Lee. “But you really need to be ready to show why you’re the best
candidate and are ready for the job. Make sure you’re not too casual in
your approach.”

 

2. Submitting a general application

 

Even if the positions you’re applying for are similar, take the time
to personalize each cover letter and résumé — it’ll make you stand out
from the majority of appli­cants who don’t. “One of the biggest
complaints we hear from employers is that candidates aren’t very savvy
about apply­ing for jobs,” says Lee. “They fire off the same application
for every job without tailoring it for that position, and without
carefully looking for an opportunity that you’d be successful at.”



3. Not explaining employment gaps

If you haven’t been working, you’re far from alone. But it’s
important to account for that time to prospective employers. “They’re
afraid that if you’ve been out of work for a couple years, you’ve fallen
into bad habits. What you have to show is that you’ve been active,”
says Lee. “If you can show that in the last year you helped manage three
events at your children’s schools that helped raise over $20,000, it
shows that you’ve been active.”

Do some cleaning up on Google

You can clean up your Facebook profile, but if your Google search results aren’t flattering, that’s a little more difficult to work around. One easy diversion that Lee suggests is to invite employers to visit your polished LinkedIn or Google+ profile so they don’t have to search.

On the slightly more sneaky side, if “Anthony Lee” turned up questionable search results, he suggests applying as the still correct and honest “Tony Lee.”



Follow Monica Weymouth on Twitter @MonicaatMetro.