Thursday, September 8, 2011

Little Things Matter

The summer is over, the kids are back in school, and in the Machol household, it is now time to clear our heads of the tremendous amount of noise the children made over the past couple of months, and to begin to move out of survival mode and think of the future. And for some, having the luxury to consider the future may contain some element of a job search.

OK, so first I have to confess, the summer was not only a matter of trying to discipline our children at home – no, this year we got adventurous and took a trip to France, where we had the opportunity to yell at them in a totally different country! This is of course a slight exaggeration, since as tourists we had plenty of distractions and a lot of baguettes to keep them busy, making a parent’s job much easier.

It wasn’t a full holiday though, as I had to do some work on the computer while we were in France. Have any of you tried to use a computer keyboard in France? Yes, the letters are the same as in English, but they are not located in the same place on the keyboard. Actually, to be accurate, most of them are in the same position, but there are a few notable differences: the “Z” “Q” “W” “M” and “A” are not where an Israeli/American would expect them, along with numbers and assorted punctuation. What this meant to me as a touch typist is that I needed to think each time before I pressed a key. Ultimately I learned how to compensate relatively well, although my fingers didn't seem to trust my brain, and this caused slow progress. And strangely enough, when I returned to Israel, I had to go through the same process of re-learning the Israeli keyboard.

Life’s small details can make a big difference. This is true for job seekers as well. I receive many applications with no indication whatsoever of the position of interest. And you can’t imagine how many job applications arrive with spelling and grammatical mistakes. I happen to be particularly sensitive to such errors, but still, I don’t see any excuse for not taking the time to make sure the job application is presented correctly. I as a recruiter am not looking for problems, but if I open up a document in Word and the misspelled words are highlighted there automatically, I immediately wonder why the applicant didn’t take the initiative to find and correct them before pressing the send button.

Finally, applicants in some cases don't make the small effort to focus the employer on their suitability for the job. For instance, numerous candidates send cover letters that are obviously generic, without any relation to the job they are applying for. Some people do have the skills required for the job, but their specific relevant skills are not included in their generic CV, and they don’t think to update their CV to provide evidence that they do meet the requirements. These are examples of shooting yourself in the foot, bypassing an easy opportunity to impress and stand out.

I am going to stop here, as I see that I haven’t fully extracted the summer preaching from my attitude. I apologize for this, and will take it upon myself to improve. You see, we all have small details that we can improve.

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