Employers often comment on mistakes made by job applicants and having conducted selection processes in Careers we have to agree with many of their observations.
Here are some errors we’ve noticed in people’s application forms.
“Who needs instructions?”
- There are often sections on application forms for education, work experience, and supporting statements, so use them.
- Don’t just put “see my CV” in the supporting statement section and leave the others blank – employers expect you to make the effort and write something!
- Supporting statements can be used to highlight particularly relevant experience and skills, and express your enthusiasm for the job.
“This will save time”
- Be careful of copying and pasting from another document or application – make sure you proofread it through, if you do.
- We’ve seen applications where the wrong job title or company name is on the form – a giveaway that copying and pasting has not been checked.
“I can tell them more at interview”
- If you don’t impress at the application stage, you’re not going to be invited for interview, so make sure you include relevant information and evidence of your skills and experience.
- Leaving things out from sections, such as work experience, but then suddenly mentioning them in your supporting statement will not impress either. The employer will think that you’ve not planned what you’re going to write and that you’ve not bothered to re-write your application before submitting it.
- Avoid overly short supporting statements. Okay, don’t waffle on, but there is such a thing as being over-concise and not giving the employer enough insight into you and your abilities.
“I have a eye for detail” – not!
- You’re a university student, so employers will have high expectations of correct use of grammar and spelling.
- If either of these are not your strong point, make sure you ask someone else to proofread your applications.
- If there are lots of other applicants, employers can afford to be picky, which means sloppy grammar or spelling will count against you.
“This would be the perfect job for me”
- Try and see things from the employer’s perspective. Yes, this might be a great opportunity for you, but what can you offer the employer?
- Employers aren’t in it just to give someone a job, but to gain an employee who can contribute to the company with their skills, experience and enthusiasm.
- Articulate what you’ll bring to the company and help them see what a benefit you’ll be.
“It’s only a temporary job”
- Treat all job applications with the same level of care and attention – don’t think that because it’s a part-time job or work on campus that it doesn’t require as much thought and preparation.
Finally, an employer’s thoughts…
One employer shared with us that they had received a CV with 22 spelling mistakes, no covering letter and no mention of the job the candidate was applying for. To cap it all the applicant had dated their recent position as lasting from Nov 2012 to Dec 2103.
So looks like they won’t be joining the company any time soon!