The answers revolve around the same theme - lack of preparedness and a poorly targeted job search.
Here's what the recruiters have to say.
The Price of 'Perfection'
My biggest pet peeve is perfect candidates. They only had successes, are perfect and can't see any improvement to make on themselves -- except maybe to "work a little less." People who are too insecure to admit their shortcomings or even their mistakes make me feel that they lack good emotional intelligence. In all the reference checks we reviewed at Checkster, none were 100% positive, so be realistic. If not, you will be seen as either not daring enough to perform difficult things, or stuck in a myopic belief that you are perfect.
-- Yves Lermusi, CEO, Checkster
As a recruiter, there have been countless times when job seekers have asked, "What position is this for?" Job seekers shouldn't just apply to any job. They need to spend their time effectively finding jobs that are a match for their skills and interest.
-- Nga Nguyen, Technology & Operations Group Recruiter at Wells Fargo
With more people looking for work in today's economy, I've been seeing an increase in what I call "lazy introductions" come across my desk. It goes something like this: "I'm writing you to introduce myself. I live in New York and I'm looking for a job," and in the signature is a link to a LinkedIn profile or possibly a resume. A brief introduction should come with a background, highlights, and reason for connecting. A job search is a job in itself and requires some personalization and effort for each and every introduction.
-- Lindsay Olson, partner, Paradigm Staffing
Can't Connect the Dots?
My biggest pet peeve is receiving resumes or applications that describe background and work experience wholly unrelated to the position being applied for. Also there is either no supporting material or a generic cover letter that fails to connect the dots between what's on the application and what's in the posted job listing.
-- Noah Apodaca, lead recruiter for staff at the University of California, Irvine
Don't Go Generic
Job seekers hurt their own cause when they don't focus on specific ways they can help potential employers and instead simply mass distribute their resume. Individuals need to show hiring managers what they can do for the organization, not the reverse. Thoroughly research companies where you want to apply, customize your resume and cover letter for each opportunity, and in your communications with employers highlight your accomplishments and skills that demonstrate how you can positively impact the firm's bottom line.
-- DeLynn Senna, executive director of North American permanent placement services, Robert Half International