How to Kill Your Chances at a Job in Less Than a Minute

In theory, we all know what we should do when applying for job and reaching out to recruiters. But, sometimes silly mistakes happen that end up hurting your chances. Let's discuss this cold email I received from a candidate who was interested in a position at my current company. This candidate would have been someone that I'd be interested in talking to further, except for some some slip ups. Let's take a closer look, as I walk you through my thought process.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 9.14.25 PM

1) Title of the email is strong. Naturally, it peaked my interest, so I opened it and read through it. Just looking at the school email address, I knew the candidate had a strong educational background, which is great.

2) A little strange that the candidate cc'd another email address, but OK, that's fine.

3) Minus points for spelling my name wrong! This was one of the first things I noticed. It wasn't exactly a deal breaker, but something to be noted.

4) This first sentence is overall pretty strong. It is direct, and gives a good overview of why the candidate emailed me.

5) Again, the fact that the candidate has the right type of technical background we are looking for prompted me to keep reading and look at the attached resume.

6) This paragraph is overall very, very vague. Be more specific in why you are interested in this role. Candidate should have thrown in some past internship experience here, and that would have made it much stronger.

7) There is a call to action here, but it isn't as direct as it could be. Say it in half the words, and be very explicit. A simple "let me know if I'm a good fit for X role" would have done the job. Also, there are grammatical errors here.

8) My company does not offer a rotational program, so I was not sure what he/she was referring to.

9) Okay, it makes sense now. Clearly, this email was not intended for me, since my company was not listed here. This alone is a deal breaker.

10) Overall, take a look at all three paragraphs. Find any similarities? They all begin with "I." Don't be a me monster. Yes, while you might be a great candidate, be sure to tie into what you can do for the company!

..And that's about it! Take into consideration all those points above, and you have a verdict. I hope this helps to shed light into what recruiters look for and evaluate when opening emails from candidates. We do read them. The strongest candidates that advance to the next stages not only have strong relevant backgrounds, but also have strong writing skills that engage and lure in the reader.

Especially if you are mass emailing a bunch of companies, be sure to always double check your work and be as specific as possible.  Don't let silly mistakes immediately kill your chances - it happens more than you think!