A new crop of college freshmen will infiltrate our city soon, calling New Orleans home. Whether it’s one semester or the next four years, the 2012 crew will be looking for jobs, be it for extra spending money or to work their way through school.
As a decision maker in the hiring process, I’m often befuddled by some of the things I see on job applications. Granted, I’m not talking about hiring to fill an upper management position. This is entry-level retail we’re talking about, but I deeply question if people really want a job given their tendency not to present their best selves.
Thing is, when I’m in dire straits, I look for reasons to interview someone, and I’d imagine most employers do. So give them a good excuse to give you a chance.
1. Dress the part. Wearing sweatpants and a grease-stained shirt is not going to get you an interview. While you don’t have to wear a suit, it never hurts to put effort into your appearance. Clean clothes are the minimum.
2. Do your research. While I’m not expecting to hear the company’s statement of purpose verbatim, it would be helpful to at least glance at the website. After all, you do want to know about the place you’ll be spending 25 hours of your life each week, right?
3. Take the application seriously. I actually had someone list “eating pizza” as a hobby. Perhaps the job seeker should have tried a pizzeria instead? That said, I want to see some personality. Play chess on the weekends? List that. Volunteer at the zoo? Started a women’s rights organization at your school? That’s the kind of stuff I want to hear about.
4. Fill out the application in full, even if you have a resume. I once asked an applicant if he could finish filling out the application and he flat out told me no. Really? As simple as it sounds, turning in a complete application shows you can follow the most basic directions.
5. Act like you care. Nothing kills your chances of getting an interview like inconsiderate behavior. Come alone, bring a pen, and don’t gab on your phone asking dad what to jot down in earshot of your potential new boss. You’re not going to call him every time you forget to clock out for lunch, are you?
6. Don’t threaten the boss. This should go without saying, but I had a girl call so many times to inquire about her application it was borderline harassment, given the attitude she projected on the line. I’ll also throw insulting the current staff a no-no as well. Pissing off your co-workers to be isn’t a smart move. While they don’t have hiring capabilities, exhibiting signs of hostility won’t earn you a gold star.
Christy Lorio, a native New Orleanian, writes on fashion at slowsouthernstyle.com and is also a freelance writer whose work has been featured online and in print magazines both locally and nationally.