3 mistakes to avoid on your job application

I recently went through the recruitment process for some roles at PE, and expected things to be fairly simple and straight-forward. I put the job advert out there, waited for the emails to come flooding in, and then braced myself as I went through the submissions we received.

That was when I noticed the mistakes.

At first I thought it was just one candidate. But soon that number grew. I was surprised to see so many obvious, simple mistakes in some of the job applications I received. These were things that are widely taught as common sense to avoid (especially here at PE).

I saw things that no one should do when applying for jobs!

What happens when people make mistakes in their job applications? Recruiters ignore them, or put their application in the ‘round filing cabinet’ (aka – the bin).

Here are the top 3 mistakes I saw candidates make in their job applications, and how you can avoid them. These tips are relevant to anyone looking for a job, regardless of industry or organisation, and might just help you land an interview.

1. Not editing your resume’s career objective to what you have applied for.
The amount of resumes I read that said they were looking for ‘admin’ or ‘marketing’ or ‘customer service’ was surprising. Hint – this was not the type of role I was recruiting for! Every single one of these resumes I discarded. It was a LOT of resumes. This is rule number 1, non-negotiable. If you aren’t putting in the time and effort to edit your resume accordingly, it shows recruiters the lack of interest you have for the role. If you are passionate about the role, show it by tailoring your resume to the job you’re applying for.

It is so important that you edit your career objective to be in line with the job you are applying for. I want to read that you are looking for this type of position, and what skills you can bring that actually match the role I am trying to fill.

2. Sending your resume as an attachment named “doc 1,” “FINAL version” etc.
I would advise everyone to save their resume as ‘Name Surname Resume’. Not bothering to name your document properly shows lack of attention to detail in your application process – and attention to detail is something most roles require! You should also save your resume in a PDF format to avoid any layout changes when the employer opens your resume on their computer. It’s a 10 second fix that could be the difference between landing an interview or getting that rejection email.

3. Sending your resume as an attachment… with no email body
I received a surprising number of emails with no body – just an attached resume. Recruiters are usually recruiting for a large number of roles at any given time. By sending just your resume, without any cover letter or email body, how are they going to know what role you are applying for? If you aren’t going to bother sending them an introduction and explanation of what you are attaching, they aren’t going to bother opening your resume – which is a waste of time for both you and the recruiter.

First impressions are paramount. What first impression are you making when you just send an attachment? Take the time to introduce yourself, explain what you’re applying for (and why), and invite them to open the resume you have attached.

Avoid these mistakes and you’ll instantly improve your chances of success.

By Jessica Saunders

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