We all know what we should be doing when applying for jobs. Qualifications, work experience, references, your application may not even be considered without them, but there are a number of things that you should definitely not do. See what you can cut out to make your application stand out…

Using out of date contact details.

Phone number no longer in use? Childish email address? These things can seem obvious but they’re vital to ensuring hiring managers and employers can get hold of you. If you have recently changed your phone number, check your CV before you send it to make sure the correct number is written down. And if your email address screams that you set it up in school, quickly setting up a new account will do wonders for your employability.

Beginning with ‘To whom it may concern.’

Getting emails that aren’t directly addressed to you are annoying, aren’t they? From the offset, you feel as if the sender has no idea who you are or any interest in you as a person. Now imagine this person is trying to get you to hire them, would it work? Probably not. It may seem simple but addressing your potential employer directly shows that you’ve gone the extra mile in your application. And also makes it clear from the start that you’ve taken time to prepare a CV tailored to the role of questions. By taking five minutes to call the company, or send a quick email, you can easily find out the information you need. In some instances, you will just be told to refer to an anonymous recruiter, and only then is it appropriate to use the generic ‘To whom it may concern.’.

Using generic phrasing and terminology

We get it, you’re a hard worker, you excel at tasks, thrive under pressure and take on new challenges with passion and confidence, as does every other applicant before you. We’re not suggesting this isn’t true, but true or not potential employers aren’t going to notice if your CV and covering letter says exactly the same thing as 100 others. The goal of these documents is to stand out, make the employer really look at your CV and see what you have to offer. Work on your phrasing, make it personal to you, and you’re far more likely to make an impression.

Making spelling and grammar mistakes

This one is obvious, but it doesn’t mean it’s not important. The content of your application can be rendered worthless by a misplaced comma or incorrectly used apostrophe. Check, check and check again, and then check once more if you have to. Do everything you can to ensure you’re

100% happy with your CV and covering letter before you send it over. For an extra set of eyes, try programmes like Grammarly that provide in-depth spelling and grammar checks.

Using the same resume and covering letter for every application

This doesn’t necessarily mean rewriting them every time you send them off, but rearranging and adjusting your content to better fit the job requirements is very beneficial, as it shows you have taken the time to thoroughly study the job specification and consider it in relation to your own experiences. Remember, recruiters can spot a repeated application from a mile off, so make sure yours stands out for the right reasons.

Applying for jobs can often feel repetitive, and it’s at times like these that the easiest mistakes are made. Be sure to make sure your application is accurate, relevant and personal to you, and you’re sure to make a great impression on potential employers.

For more tips on common job mistakes, see our article on mistakes job seekers make on LinkedIn.

Jess Howard writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs, visit our website.

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