As anyone who has ever been on the job search knows, finding a job can be hard. Applying for job after job can grow pretty tedious pretty quickly – but maybe there’s a reason you aren’t getting noticed.
I’ve made up a list of seven very common mistakes you may be making on job applications. Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to apply to jobs with your best foot forward and, at the very least, land yourself an in-person interview. Who knows? Maybe these mistakes are exactly what’s holding you back, and once you fix them, you’ll land the lob of your dreams!
1. Failing to Follow Instructions
Do you ever glance at a job application and go straight to autopilot? It is very easy to assume that every hiring manager is asking for the same thing. It’s true that the requirements for different job applications are usually very similar, but you need to take the extra moment to make absolutely sure that you are sending the employer exactly what it is asking for.
For example, if the application requires a cover letter, make sure you include a formatted cover letter in word document or PDF form – not a one-sentence email.
Failing to follow instructions will get you cut from the running immediately: If you can’t submit a proper application, how can the employer trust you to meet all your responsibilities once you’re on the job?
2. Going ‘Click Crazy’
Also known as applying for any and every job you come across.
When you’re on the hunt for a new job, it is extremely tempting to click “apply” to every available position without actually considering whether or not you have the right qualifications – and whether or not you’d be happy there.
The better choice here is taking the time to apply to only positions about which you are excited. Customizing your resume to each opening will be far more beneficial than going on an application spree, mindlessly applying to anything and everything.
Remember: quality over quantity will take you very far with job applications!
3. Not Proofreading Your Application
Proofreading errors can be the death of you when applying for jobs, so make sure everything you send is perfect and is a good representation of your work ethic.
My favorite trick for proofreading is to print out your documents on paper. In my experience, it is much easier to spot errors on paper than it is to spot them on a computer screen.
Another good tip is reading the text in reverse, from bottom to top. Reading information in a different order than you normally would read it gives you a different perspective and stops you from simply glancing over the words without truly reading them.
4. Highlighting the Wrong Aspects
The most important things to highlight in a job application are your invaluable skills and concrete accomplishments. This means any skills that set you apart (i.e., knowledge in a specific software) and hard numerical facts (i.e., “Decreased employee overtime by X percent”). These things are generally not implied by simply job descriptions, so be sure to call them out specifically.
5. Using Outdated Terminology/Techniques
For example, writing “Objective” in front of an opening statement at the top of your resume or telling employers that your references are “available upon request.” Those statements are both implied, and they take up extra space on your resume, so there is truly no need to write them out. Obviously you will provide references if a prospective company asks for them, so why make your resume more cluttered?
6. Including Useless Information on Your Resume
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: The point of your resume is to get you an interview, not the job. For that reason, you don’t have to include every single little piece of information about yourself in your resume. Think about your resume as a snapshot of you, not a whole biopic.
Some specific examples of irrelevant information might include:
- your GPA (no one will ask you about this unless you are applying for an educational program);
- the classes you took in college more than four years ago;
- the high school you attended (unless that is your highest level of education);
- and any jobs that are not related to the job for which you are currently applying.
7. Not Sharing Your Resume on Job Boards
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make – if not the biggest – is not posting your resume to a few job boards. People always seem to look at job boards for job postings, and they fail to post their own information.
A lot of recruiters search websites like Indeed and LinkedIn for candidates. If your resume isn’t posted, they won’t be able to find you. Posting your resume will not only increase your chances of finding a job, but it will also increase your ability to network with recruiters and potential employers.
So, if you’ve been struggling with your job search, step back and make sure you aren’t making any of these mistakes. If you are, then ensure you don’t make them again going further.
Once you’ve rid your job search strategy of these errors, you should have a much easier time getting interviews and even an eventual job offer!