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5 Common Mistakes Candidates Make on their Application | Article Cover photo

5 Common Mistakes Candidates Make When Applying

Don't fail at the first hurdle! Here are 5 common mistakes candidates makes when applying for jobs.

As a candidate applying for a job, the application process can be long, frustrating, and painful. You know you have so much to offer, yet it feels like you keep getting knocked back time and time again. While there could be many reasons why you didn’t get the job, these 5 common mistakes candidates make often hurt your chances of getting the job.

  1. Spelling & Grammatical Errors

This is probably the most common problem with applications. Hiring managers or recruiters glance over your CV or cover letter, only to find some glaring mistakes. Maybe you have used ‘effect’ instead of ‘affect’. Possibly a ‘their’ instead of ‘they’re’. While these mistakes are so easy to make, and seemingly innocuous, to a hiring manager trying to fill an extremely competitive position, it could make all the difference. 

These mistakes signify any or all of the following: 

  • Lack of care
  • Lack of attention to detail
  • Poor spelling skills
  • A lack of desire to work for the company
  • An undesirable attitude
  • Other detrimental attributes

You may think this seems a bit extreme. However a hiring manager or recruiter might think that you simply do not care enough to put the effort in to ensure there are no mistakes in the most important document in your application. If you can’t get that right, how are they able to trust you will get anything else right when representing the company. 

Double, triple, quadruple check your CV for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or just poorly worded sentences. Ask somebody else to proofread it. Whatever you do, make sure that your CV and cover letter are absolutely, 100% mistake free. 

  1. Not Following Instructions

The amount of candidates who do not follow instructions on the job advert or recruitment website is staggeringly high. Maybe the job advert tells all applicants to send their CV to a specific email, as opposed to through a platform like SEEK. If you do not follow these instructions, before anyone even looks at your CV you already have a big red cross next to your application. 

Your ability to follow instructions are an extremely important part of any company’s hiring decision. Check where they want you to apply. Do they want an email or a phone call? Maybe they want all applications through SEEK, even though they have advertised on LinkedIn. Whatever it is they are asking for, by not following the instructions (or not even seeing them) you are setting yourself up for failure at the first hurdle.

  1. A Poorly Done CV

Once you have fixed your mistakes on your CV & cover letter, the next step is to make sure your CV is clean, professional, and portrays your key information concisely. Our CV Template & Guide can help you develop your CV to be the best it possibly can be. The key to a good CV is delivering your key competencies as quickly and effectively as possible. Our CV guide article goes into detail about how you can curate the most powerful version of your CV.

  1. Wrong CV Format

If your CV is in a format that the hiring manager cannot access, then you are immediately removing yourself from the running. Word or Google docs can potentially give the hiring manager access to previous versions, edits made, or are even not openable. Your CV should ALWAYS be in a PDF format. The risk of sending your CV as a PDF is ZERO. Every hiring manager will have access to your CV, AND it will display exactly as you intended it. Live documents such as Word may get reformatted on the hiring manager’s computer, making the CV look completely different (and unprofessional). Remove all risk and save your all application documents as PDF.

  1. No Focus on the Intangibles

For every job there are certain tangible requirements. Experience, qualifications, technical skills. However for most competitive jobs, there are a large number of candidates who have the experience, qualifications, and technical skills to do the job. A hiring manager will then have to move towards the intangible aspects to decide who is the best fit. These are attributes that anyone can have and should be an important & obvious part of your CV & cover letter. General speaking, the most important intangible aspect is attitude. Companies are looking for candidates with a great attitude. Do you want to do well in this role? Are you motivated, driven? Are you willing to learn & listen? 

Experience can be gained, qualifications can be earned, technical skills can be taught. However intangible skills like attitude, empathy, and charisma can’t. Many, if not all employers view these intangible skills (aka soft skills) just as, if not more, important than their counterparts. Leaving out these skills on your CV might be the reason you missed out on an opportunity. 

Finding a job is a stressful and time consuming process. These 5 common mistakes can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful application.

Have any of your own tips? Leave them in the comments below!

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