In my years of experience, I’ve seen all sorts of job applications cross my desk, and not all of them are good. In fact, many of them are not showcasing the applicant at all.
Here’s a quick summary of 5 of the most annoying and harmful mistakes you might be making with your job applications, and some suggestions on how to correct them.
Not following instructions
This is as basic as it gets. If you can’t follow the instructions on how to apply for a job, why do you think you will win an interview? Straight away you’ve shown that you don’t pay attention and you can’t be relied on to complete a task correctly. If the instructions ask you to complete a form, do it. If they want you to provide specific attachments, do it. Give them everything they ask for so you give yourself the best chance of scoring yourself an interview.
Focusing on the roles you’ve held
This is a big one and I see it time and time again. The job you hold is not as important as the way you do it. I know that being manager sounds important, but remember that anyone can call themselves by that title. Not everyone can perform successfully in the role. Don’t just talk about the responsibilities of the job, because they aren’t very different between industries. Instead, talk about how you operated in the role. What were your successes as manager? What achievements did you have that made a difference to your employer? Those are the things that will make you stand out.
Submitting a general application
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all job application. Even if the job titles are the same, the responsibilities might vary and so might the context of the job. It’s easy to spot an application that has not been prepared for a specific job. It’s vague and there is no information really relevant to the selection criteria. Don’t be lazy about it. Put the effort in and win the job you really want.
Not proofreading the application
It’s easy to make a typo or misspell a word. It’s easy to mess up your grammar when you edit part of a sentence. Proofreading will pick up these errors so you can correct them before you send off the application. Most employers are looking for someone who can pay attention to detail, so do it now – check the details of your typing. Perhaps even ask someone else to read it over for you. A fresh set of eyes will spot mistakes that you miss.
Not being able to support your claims
Take a look at what you’ve written. Make a note of everything you’ve said you’ve achieved, from qualifications to workplace wins. Can you provide evidence for each of these, particularly the major ones? Take the time to ask for references and testimonials for your achievements, and make sure you still have the transcripts of your course results. Every little bit of evidence is another convincing factor in your favour.
With a little more effort and thought, you will be able to prepare a job application that gives the recruitment panel everything it needs to know about you.
It’s a great idea to have your application prepared by a professional resume writer who will create a resume and application that impresses even you. You know you’re good and with their help, you will see it in print right there in front of you.
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