When I review applications my clients have made there are usually a few common mistakes that come up. Below are the top 5 that that need to be addressed before you consider sending an application to an employer:
Job Application Mistakes
1. Generic Cover Letters
One of the common things I notice is clients sending a CV online and using the generic ‘cover letter’ that pops up on my most job search sites instead of writing their own. It’s important to make sure you are including something tailored and personal when sending over your CV – If only to make you stand out from all the other applicants who have also used the generic cover letter!
Refer back to the job description and where possible utilise a Person Specification for the job you’re applying for to really sell yourself into the role. This also applies to supporting statements with applications – if you can’t find one with the job description try contacting the company directly to get some further information.
2. Application Forms
Where possible always seek to find out if you can complete an application form online in Word format – this allows you to use spelling and grammar checks and also ensures it’s presentable! It has the added bonus of you then being able to email it directly to the employer – rather than posting or handing it in and risking it getting scruffy or lost.
If you absolutely have to write one out by hand, make sure you do a draft first and have someone proof read this – then write it up as neatly as possible for a final copy ready to hand in. Remember the application form is what they will be judging you on, so if your writings not up to scratch and the application is presented to them with crossing outs and errors, it’s likely they wont think you’re up to scratch either!
3. Uploading CVs to Job Applications
It may seem obvious but a lot of people get caught out when they upload their CV to apply for a job by not checking its format. Before you upload it for a job, try sending it a friend via email and have them open the document so you can make sure that the employer at the other end is receiving it in the format/lay-out you want.
Also make sure you check the formats that different websites will accept and have a copy of your CV saved in various formats so that it’s accessible and ready to read.
4. Application Instructions
Make sure you read fully and carefully any instructions laid out within an application. For example if a job requests you list ‘3 keys things that make you suitable’ – you actually detail three key things and make it clear you’re meeting this instruction. A simple sentence like ‘The three key things that would make me an ideal candidate for this role are ..’ – use clear paragraphs or bullet points.
This is similar with application form questions that ask you about a time when you worked as a team, or gave excellent customer service. Make sure you answer the question fully. Break it down into 3 main parts – what the situation was, what you did and what the outcome was. I often see generic answers such as ‘I have always worked as part of a team’ and these won’t wash with employers.
5. Make sure your contact information is correct
I’ve lost count of the number of times clients have applied for roles or emailed their CV and not updated their telephone number, email or home address. Make sure you make this a priority before sending a final application – and make sure the information is clear and easy to find!
As with everything else with your job search activity, if something you’re doing is working and your not hearing back from employers – make sure you review and make the necessary changes to your job application process to start turning those applications into interviews.
Photo Credit: levo leauge