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7 Common Applicant Mistakes

7 Common Applicant Mistakes

Searching for a job can be a difficult and discouraging process. However, it can be made simpler by avoiding the most typical applicant mistakes.

Most employers do not want jack-of-all-trades candidates so make your application as distinctive and relevant as you can. You can improve your chances of having your application read by avoiding these seven common mistakes:


1. Leaving a generic cover letter on your CV

One of the most typical mistakes made when applying for jobs is leaving a generic cover letter on your CV. Although it may seem obvious, making this error could see your application instantly rejected.

A generalised letter might give the impression that your application is being mass-produced without attention to detail. Instead, make sure it is addressed to the appropriate person at the appropriate organisation. Concentrate on a few samples of your work that are relevant to the role and draw attention to the impact of each. This will make it easier for the hiring manager to picture you as part of the organisation. Also, make sure you proofread your letter carefully to make sure you have spelled the individual’s and company's name correctly!

2. Submitting your application to the wrong person

Another typical error made by job applicants is addressing their application to the wrong person. Businesses typically have a website where they provide the correct address for their application materials. The best way to prevent making this error is to adhere to the company's guidelines and avoid any grammatical errors.

3. Not checking your application twice

Not double-checking your application is another common applicant error. It is a good idea to proofread your work for grammar and spelling errors before submitting it as these will quickly send your CV to the "rejection" pile. Sometimes it’s hard to spot these mistakes yourself when you’ve been working on the application for a while, so if possible get someone else to review it for you. Additionally, avoid reusing your essay or referencing the incorrect organisation. A simple guide is to not rush through any application.

4. Making tense changes

Changes in the tense can be awkward and make your CV appear disorganised. You should always write in the past tense when listing your accomplishments, education, and job responsibilities. You may use the present tense to emphasise your current situation. Your CV is your personal statement, and it should highlight your experiences. You should also commence any references to activities and achievements with a verb, e.g., Achieved, Delivered, Owned, etc

5. Only listing activites

Many people list the activities that they undertook in their CVs, but this doesn’t help you stand out. For each role you have worked in you should focus on your achievements, e.g., instead of undertaking sales calls, outline how many sales you made, your performance against the objectives set for you (“surpassed objectives by 25%”), how you improved the processes you were working on (“increased issues dealt with each day by 10%”). This provides an employer with a clear view of what you have achieved and the difference you can make to their organisation.

6. Leaving off your phone number

Leaving off your phone number on a CV is among the most frequent errors. If a prospective employer can’t easily contact you, this will significantly reduce your likelihood of landing a job interview. Your phone number should be added first on its own line. Additionally, it will demonstrate your integrity and dependability. Never try to keep important information a secret.

7. Leaving a section empty

This common blunder gives the impression that you are trying to conceal something. Even though many employers do not base their decisions solely on your CV, it may raise red flags in the hiring manager's mind, and it might even look as though you don't have sufficient experience for the job. When you apply for a job, you want the employer to pay attention to your skills rather than anything you have to hide. Experience that is specifically relevant to the position you are applying for should be listed in the work experience section. If you're applying for an entry-level position, you should list all your experience to demonstrate your suitability for the job; you can include activities like club memberships, volunteer work, internships, part-time jobs, and summer jobs as examples of relevant experience. Finally, make sure to explain any gaps in your CV timeline as employers will want to understand what you were doing in those periods and the reasons why.