Biggest Job Application Mistakes
There aren’t many experiences out there that are more nerve-racking than the lead-up to a job interview. In that time, we tend to make our biggest mistakes as we are feeling our most anxious. Fear not. Here is a quick guide that outlines the biggest job application mistakes to avoid making when you are preparing for your interview:
- Forgetting to modify your resume and cover letter: Many people use a template-style resume/cover letter for each job they apply for. Forgetting to modify these documents and tailoring them to the specific job application is a mistake many make. Eliminate generic sentences such as “I’d love to be considered for a job at your company.” Insert the NAME of the company, and be specific about how you can make a difference. You don’t want your resume or cover letter to appear as though they’ve been sent out to numerous other companies.
- Being too reliant on online applications: Simply sending your resume out to every online portal is a dead end these days. For every online job posting, an average of 50 applicants will respond. Simply put, applying for jobs online is a numbers game that cannot be won. Instead, search for jobs through your connections, or people you can contact directly. Or, search through your second and third connections on LinkedIn. Actual human contact is more likely to land you a job, not trolling the myriad of internet job boards.
- Using vague, benign buzz words to describe yourself: In your resumes, cover letters or job interviews, avoid using generic terms such as “team player” or “people person” or “innovator” to describe yourself. Instead, describe yourself in terms of HOW you will benefit the company, and use concrete examples of things you have done as evidence.
- Not researching the person interviewing you: Studying up on the company you are applying for is a crucial part of preparing for an interview, and it should go without saying. However, you should also take some time to learn more about your interviewer. Look them up on LinkedIn and try to find a little detail you can talk about or connect over. Knowing those “little details” can help you establish a more human connection, and could help sway a decision in your favor.
- Saying “Yes” just because you need the job: To compete with the other candidates, people sometimes feel the need to say “yes” to anything that’s in the job description, even if they are not interested in or good at those things. This will end up haunting them should they later get the job and have to end up doing those tasks. If you have any reservations about the job or its duties, always ask questions and get clarification. Be honest about your skills and ambitions. You may end up being hired for a job that is more suited to your abilities.
- Not following up within 24 hours: Part of the job application process is good follow up. Following up is a direct indication of how much you want that job. Failing to do so will make the hiring manager think you don’t really want it at all, and you likely will not get it. At the very least, you should call in to thank them for giving you the opportunity to interview. The HR people will remember you for it and will give you extra consideration.
Looking now? Search for my dream job