Avoid These 3 Things when Applying for a Job

Applying for a job is not a simple and quick task. It can take weeks of research, hours of crafting the perfect resume and cover letter, and mental energy preparing for the interview. Applying for a new job and starting a new career IS a full-time job.

However, there are three key things to be sure you avoid when applying for a job. These things will get you knocked out of the running.

These mistakes are immediate dealbreakers. Even though they are subtle, they might cause a hiring manager to fold your resume into a paper airplane and aim it at the trash can.

Three Things to Avoid when Applying for a Job


It seems silly that we even have to point this out, but we have heard from so many recruiters, business owners, hiring managers, and HR personnel who all say that typos are the #1 thing that gets resumes tossed. It is really hard to edit your own writing. That is why all the famous writers have editors. Don’t rely on just yourself to proof your own resume. Have your friends, family members, librarian, or anyone else who is willing, check your resume for errors. Even better, seek help from professional resume writers who can do even more to help you than just look for typos. Get a free critique of your resume today! 

RelatedA Resume Template Doesn’t Cut it for Executives

#2. Generic Cover Letters

If your cover letter reads like you could put any job title or company name at the top then it will cost you the job.  You can start with a template for formatting, that is it! The words have to be unique and customized to each position you are applying for. Don’t serve up a no-brand cover letter when a gourmet version will knock it out of the park.

Be sure to include an explanation as to why working for this company is the best move for your career. If you’re able to show you’re forward-thinking and eager to learn you are much more likely to get their attention and be considered for the position.

Related: Cover Letter Template: Not good enough for executives

#3. Not Following Directions Carefully

If you are careful about typos you need to be equally careful about following directions. Often times when applying for a job there will be additional instructions. Failing to do so signals that you do not have attention to detail and cannot follow instructions.

Amy Zander, the owner of Zeedia Media, a content marketing firm, told us she purposely puts a specific instruction in each job posting just to see if it is followed. It usually has to do with how she prefers to be contacted. If she created a Facebook Job listing she will include, “Please do not message me through Facebook. Please contact me via phone or email.” Anyone who messages her through Facebook is immediately disqualified. “I am hiring writers and graphic designers who need to be very detail-oriented. This small test saves me a lot of time.” Zander revealed.

Additional submission instructions could also include:

  • How to submit your resume, cover letter, and application (online, via email, scanned, etc). This could also include the preferred format (MS Word, Google Doc, PDF, etc.) Don’t forget to check if there is a specific email address to send your info to.
  • A portfolio, writing samples, or other examples of your work
  • Applicant questions
  • Proof of specific licenses, qualifications, and training

Don’t let any of these mistakes or oversights keep you from getting your foot in the door for an interview. They can be easily avoided by reading everything carefully and taking your time.

Good luck with your job search! You’ve got this. We are here for you.

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