Job Search Tips (and Slips)- Follow These Directions:

I mean, I never liked being told what to do. It’s one of the reasons I dropped out of school. Give me something to assemble, I won’t look at the directions, I’ll try to figure it out by myself. It’s why I love Ikea furniture.” – Dave Grohl

Remember that activity from elementary school where the teacher hands out a list of about 20 things to do, and at the top it says to read the assignment first?  Do you remember what tends to happen?

Most students don’t, so while they are busy doing all sorts of crazy equations & drawings & what not on their paper, maaaayyybeeee one or two students have read to the last of the 20 items & see that it says something like, “The only thing you have to do for this assignment is to put your name on the back of your paper, leave it upside down & raise your hand when you’re finished.”  Usually the teacher then hands out a reward to those that read the directions as instructed, and launches into a lesson in READING THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST on all assignments before doing the work to the majority of the class!

When it comes to applying for jobs, sometimes my friends that do hiring (business owners, managers, recruiters) often tell me it seems too many adults never did learn that grade school lesson!

It’s almost as if this is what we think about following instructions:


Follow the instructions in the job ad!  This is the #1 Job Search Tip from my hiring friends.

They’ve asked for whatever they’ve asked for for a reason; not doing so just shows a lack of attention and/or that you don’t do as instructed

Whatever your reasoning may be to do something different, doesn’t matter. Don’t give any reasons for the employer to discount you, even if you are highly qualified! (yes, this is based on yet another repeated comment from my friend that is hiring.)

A local small biz owner friend enjoys sending me his “worst of” job applicant stories.   He ALWAYS says in his ads, “No emailed resumes.  Please stop by in person.”

Guess what the majority of applicants do?  Guess what he does to those, after laughing at them & sending the worst offenders on to me so I can do my best to educate the masses with “what NOT to do” blog posts like this? DELETE.  He figures that applicants that don’t follow instructions to try to get the job are much less likely to follow direction well on the job – not someone he wants to hire.

(BTW, he also told me about a stained & tattered resume that came in …. ewwwww! But I know none of YOU would do that! Right??  The condition of the resume cancelled out any positive impression she may have made by actually following the ad that said to bring the resume in person.)

The employer is unlikely to hand out gold stars for doing what they ask in their job application.  But the prize could be winning an interview, and eventually a job – can’t beat that reward, eh?

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