It’s happened to all of us. You turned your job application in only to never hear back from the hiring manager again. Ever wonder what you were doing wrong?
Here are the top 10 mistakes that people make in job applications. Once you've mastered ways to avoid these mistakes, check out job listings for all the latest job opportunities.
1. Not following directions
You’ve been practicing this skill since grade school, now it's time to put it to good use! Make sure you read the directions carefully and thoroughly. Your application is more likely to be ignored or even trashed if you have any mistakes on it. It shows your lack of attention to detail and carelessness.
It’s also a good idea to reread your application before handing it to the hiring manager. If anything is unclear on the application, take the initiative to ask.
2. Leaving a field blank on the job application
You should never leave any part of your job application blank! Hiring managers put a lot of time into creating the application, you should show that you acknowledged every part of the application by filling it out completely.
If a field does not apply to you, write a sentence explaining why it does not apply to you or write “not applicable.” Blanks in your job application show a level of apathy and a lack of attention to detail. Something as simple as filling in every blank shows the hiring manager that you care.
3. Forgetting to attach the correct documents
If an application asks for a cover letter and resume, make sure that you provide a cover letter and resume along with any other documents the employer asks for -- transcripts, references, etc.
Additionally, make sure that you send the correct document(s). You don’t want to end up sending a cover letter meant for another job application. This is the worst thing you can do!
Lastly, make sure everything is formatted correctly. It’s usually conventional to send documents in PDF format so the formatting stays consistent (unless the employers say otherwise).
4. Not tailoring your application to the job description
You should always tailor your resume and cover letter to the position you are applying to because it makes you a stronger applicant. Make sure to highlight skills and experience that are applicable to the job.
For example, if you were applying for a barista job, you can highlight your restaurant server experience that demonstrates your ability to learn quickly and work well under high-pressure situations.
Hiring managers are more likely to consider you for the job if you have previous experience.
5. Applying for all positions at the company
You may be tempted to apply for all the job openings that a company has. This reflects badly on you because it shows that your only goal is to get a job and while that may be true, you want the hiring manager to think you are passionate about the position.
When you apply for one position, companies will sometimes consider you for all positions. Our advice to is to write fewer applications, but put more time into making those applications stand out!
6. Applying for a position that you are obviously not qualified for
If the job description asks for you to have prior knowledge and experience in computer programming, you should only apply if you have knowledge and experience in computer programming. If you don’t highlight these experiences in your job application, many hiring managers will likely ignore your application.
7. Not explaining employment gaps
Employment gaps are perfectly fine to have in your application. You want to make sure to explain these gaps to the hiring manager otherwise he or she will assume the worst.
8. Underselling yourself
Never undersell yourself! It’s difficult to find the perfect balance between bragging and underselling yourself. Always make sure to state all your skills, experiences, and capabilities on your resume and cover letter. You want the hiring manager to have no doubt that you are capable of doing the job.
9. Using improper grammar
This point goes back to attention to detail. Make sure to proofread your application. You want to make sure that you use proper grammar in your application—simple as that!
Never, never, never lie on your application. Hiring managers will fact-check your application and if you are ever caught in a lie, they will immediately throw your application in the trash.
In addition, if they personally know other hiring managers, they will tell them, giving you a bad name around town. Avoid this situation by simply telling the truth.
Now that you are aware of these mistakes, you can easily avoid them!