Common mistakes of job applicants

I have reviewed hundreds of applications and job applicants for my companies. There are some common patterns, which I am recognizing.

Do you recognize yourself in one of these mistakes? You are unnecessarily lowering your chance to get the job you’re applying for:

  1. Addressing a person or company with the wrong name / including a motivational letter addressed to another company.
    • If I get an application like this, I assume that you would not be a very careful employee.
  2. Not checking spelling, e-mail is not carefully formatted
    • Again, if you write with spelling mistakes which you could easily fix using online tools, I assume that you won’t care enough about the company processes, either.
    • Your application represents you – it is an ambassador for you. Do you want the ambassador to look shabby and be off-putting?
  3. Applying for a position, claiming that you have the skills for it, without backing this up by concrete work experience in your CV
    • “I’m very experienced” – with only a month of actual employment in this type of position in the past
  4. Claiming that you have experience, and not being able to actually back this up on a test working day
    • For example, a candidate who said he had done over 5 years of IT support, and who was not able to replace a network printer, and did not understand basic concepts of networking (static IP addresses)
  5. When given the option to write less, you submit the bare minimum
    • … which leads me to assume you’re going to give the bare minimum at the job as well!
  6. Including things which indicate that you might not be that motivated actually.
    • e.g. “I was let go for low performance reasons” in the CV
    • e.g. “Actively searching for a position since 1991”
  7. Not reading the job description carefully and fully, and asking questions which are already answered in the job description
  8. Pushing too hard to be interviewed, etc.
    • e.g. one candidate wrote “I don’t want to be interviewed, I want to work” – a clear rejection for me.
  9. Showing signs of insubordination / being someone who would be tough to manage
    • e.g. an applicant telling me “I have good news for you and bad news for you”.
  10. Being unreliable
    • e.g. not showing up to the interview on time. I know, life sometimes gets in the way – manage expectations by letting the company you apply to know as far in advance as possible that you won’t be able to make it.
  11. Not being educated
    • This matters – and is something you can fix! Being educated generally, and specifically in the field which you are applying for, will give you a solid base compared to other candidates.

These are all things which you can fix and directly influence.

Is spell-checking a CV a little more work? Yes. But it will save lots and lots of time, because you will have a higher chance of being accepted. It’s truly time which is well-invested.

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