It's pretty much a given that once a contestant on any reality TV show becomes a little too confident and boasts about their front-runner status, they're basically a goner.
Hey, there's nothing wrong with being self-assured, but overconfidence can sometimes cause you to make mistakes and lose out on what you want – whether that's the final rose or the job.
Now that job prospects are starting to improve, don't assume you can suddenly slack on any part of the job search. In fact, according to one CareerBuilder survey, making the following five errors could hurt your chances of hearing "Will you accept this rose?" i.e., "You're hired":
1. Basic pitches. A common, but often catastrophic, mistake job seekers make is to use the same generic resume and cover letter for every opportunity. In fact, 54 percent of job seekers don't customize their resume for each employer – a big red flag for hiring managers. Your resume should be tailored to match the job description, which can be done by inserting keywords used in the job posting that match your experience.
2. Feeling the "To Whom it May Concern" burn. Your resume content isn't the only thing that needs customization. Generically addressing your cover letter won't automatically cause you to be out of the running, but personalizing it could certainly boost your chances over your competitors. According to the study, 84 percent of job seekers don't find out the hiring manager's name to personalize the application. Yet, doing a little research and applying directly to the hiring manager shows them you're willing to go the extra mile – both during a job search and when actually performing the job.
3. Cutting cover letter corners. Writing a resume – and personalizing it – is arduous enough, so adding a customized cover letter to the mix is probably the last thing you want to do. (It's no wonder 45 percent of job seekers don't include a cover letter with their resume.) Yet, this is your chance to humanize what's on your resume, and make your case for why your credentials make you the right person for that particular job.
4. Follow up follies. Thirty-seven percent of job seekers don't follow up with an employer after they apply, which can easily cause an application to get lost in the shuffle. Recruiters are often inundated with resumes for open positions, so checking back in isn't an annoyance (so long as you don't stalk); it can actually help ensure your materials get noticed.
5. Thanks but no thanks. Sending a thank-you note after an interview seems like an obvious step, yet 57 percent of job seekers don't do it, according to the survey. Not only do employers expect to receive one, but it also gives you the chance to reiterate why you're the person for the job. It's also an opportunity to highlight something you may have forgotten to mention during the interview. Whether it's via email, mail or both, send a thank you to everyone you interviewed with, and do so in a timely manner.