Job Seeker Do’s and Don’ts That Transcend Generational Gaps

September 2015

While Addison Group’s 2015 Workplace Survey highlights differences in what the various generations of hiring managers (Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials) are looking for in today’s candidates, the data also reveals that the three generations agree on the importance of several significant aspects of the job application process. Perhaps most significant (but not necessarily surprising) is the fact that 74% of hiring managers consider the interview to be the most important factor in the job application process. The second and third most important were resumes (56%) and references (49%).

What does this mean for today’s job seekers? Although the presence of three seemingly distinct groups of managers creates a complex job landscape, focusing on those mutually agreed upon factors will allow candidates in the beginning stages of the job application process to market themselves to hiring managers of all generations.

Here is a quick overview of the do’s and don’ts for both resumes and references that transcend generations:

Resumes

Do: Tailor your resume to the desired position

90% of hiring managers admit that they notice when a resume isn’t tailored to the role in question. Be sure to highlight the work history/job skills that most closely align with the duties/responsibilities listed in the job description.

Don’t: Forget to Proofread!

While biggest resume turnoffs varied amongst generations, one of the most highly cited across the board was typos. Candidates who are unsure of their ability to proofread/edit their own work should get a second (and even third) set of eyes to review their resume. Recruiters are excellent resources when it comes to spot checking resumes!

References

Do: Prepare Your References!

Hiring Managers voted references as the third most important factor of the job application process. That being said, creating a list of references is simply not enough. Be sure to reach out to the references and “coach” them on exactly what you’d like them to focus on when they are contacted by potential employers.

Don’t: Rely on Friends and Family 

For those with little job experience, it can be difficult to determine who to list as a reference when applying for a job. Avoid using friends and family, and instead focus on individuals who can attest to your professional skills. This person could be a college professor or a leader of a volunteer organization—the important thing is that they are able to communicate how the candidates’ skill set will translate to the position.