Applying for Jobs: 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Graduate-jobs share careers guidance and tips for applications as well as listing current openings. Read their blog on what not to do when you’re applying for jobs!

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Applying for Jobs: 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid

When on the job hunt, it’s very easy to start making silly mistakes as it can get very tiring, very quickly. We know that sometimes it can seem like there is no end in sight but making these mistakes which are totally avoidable will only make it harder for yourself and only prolong your job search. So, we composed a list of what we think are the 10 most common mistakes jobseekers make when applying for jobs:

1. Poor spelling and grammar

In today’s modern world, applying for jobs is all written and online with the last stage being face to face interviews. This highlights the crucial importance of your writing ability as employers will judge you based on this, way before they get to meet you and see what your personality is like. So, every written interaction with them has to be of the highest quality. This applies to your CV, cover letter, emails and online applications. Proof-read, spell check and then show your family and friends. Then only send it off when all of these have been checked and you think you can’t do any more.

2. Not following instructions

This may seem obvious at first, but when you’re on your 10th job application of the week, it can seem like every employer just uses the same format and exact same questions. Just make sure you read each question properly, and you’ve provided them with the correct documents. Some employers require certain documents that others don’t, so ensure you’ve got it all and you’ve sent it over.

3. Sending out generic applications

Just as you want to be seen as an individual by your organisation, organisations want to be seen as unique by applicants, and not just another corporation. They want to see that you made an effort to seek them out, researched the role you’re applying for and understand what they want from you. These are characteristics of someone who really wants the job and will work hard to prove their worth – characteristics of a good employee.Tailor your CV and cover letter to suit the organisation you’re applying for. This means researching their values and showing how you have demonstrated these in past situations. Research the role you’re applying to and show how you’d fit perfectly into it. For example, if you’re applying to a role that will consist of some technology use, show that you are more than comfortable with that, and even highlight past experiences where you have excelled in technology.

4. Making unsubstantiated claims

Slight exaggeration on CV’s and cover letters is not uncommon, just don’t take it too far. If you’re making claims in your cover letter that you haven’t stated in your CV, this will not look good. If you don’t tell the truth, you are highly likely to be caught out by skilled interviewers; so, don’t make claims that you won’t feel comfortable talking about if employers brought it up in a face to face interview.

5. Not being properly prepared for interviews

This links with No. 3. If you haven’t researched the company or the role, it will be glaringly obvious in the interview. Don’t embarrass yourself and don’t leave it to the last minute. If you research the company, you can prepare yourself for potential questions they may ask. Again, they want to see the characteristics of a good employee – preparation is key.
Check out Graduate Jobs guidance on commercial awareness and brush up on your interview technique to make sure you are perfectly prepared.

6. Lack of professionalism

Aim to maintain a high level of professionalism throughout the application process and be consistent over all communicative platforms. Maintain the standard of your writing in emails, remain polite in interactions over the phone, return emails and phone calls promptly and dress appropriately for interviews.

7. Repeating mistakes

Getting rejected by an employer is not a great feeling. We’ve all been there at some point so don’t worry, if it does happen to you, you are not alone in your pain. But the good thing about these situations is that they provide great opportunity to learn. Sending a well-versed email to employers who turned you down can definitely increase your chances of finding success next time.
Or if you have been sending out countless applications and getting no response, then it’s probably a matter of changing your CV and cover letter.cover letter or pros and cons

8. Poorly written cover letters

The cover letter acts as a tool for the employer to see if you are the perfect fit for that specific role. It should be concise and demonstrate skills that would be appropriate for the role e.g. if you’re applying for an HR position, these roles typically require you to be good with people, so you need to demonstrate you have these characteristics and what past work experience demanded this from you.

9. Poorly put together CV’s

For most job applications, your CV is the first thing employers see. Employers read hundreds of these a day, so it should quickly reveal why your CV is worth reading. It should be detailed but to the point, and unique but professional.

10. Poorly selected references

You should have at least two references – one professional, and one academic. Make sure you ask these people if you can give their names for your references. And make sure the people you have chosen are in a good position to give a good reference – this means they know you well enough to speak highly of you, and that they occupy a position which is relevant to your chosen industry.

Graduate Jobs logo are the UK’s biggest independent graduate job board. They allow you to set up an account that matches your academic subject – which means you can instantly view jobs that are right for you.