Job Application errors – 5 things to avoid

Monday, October 12, 2015

Here are five of the things that have always annoyed me when short-listing job applications.

1. Poor covering letter or no covering letter

This is a missed opportunity (unless you are specifically told not to include one!) as the covering letter provides a chance for you to sell yourself and say why you want the role and why you’d be prefect for it. From spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, to a font too small to read, an error strewn letter never looks good. Take care over your covering letter. It is your first chance to impress, and first impressions count.

2. Incomplete sections on the application form / CV

This shows a lack of attention to detail, and a lack of interest in the role. It also means you are likely to fail to meet essential criteria for the role and so stand little chance of getting the job. Complete the form properly, or don’t apply!

3. A CV when an application form was requested (or vice versa)

Possibly the end of your chances as employers have to have comparable information on which to judge candidates. For some recruiters the wrong format immediately rules you OUT. What a waste of everyone’s time!

4. Further details that provide no detail

The early parts of the application are promising, there’s a good covering letter, the right qualifications, relevant experience and then you turn to ‘further details’ and there is nothing much there. No attempt to provide the information an employer needs to short-list you makes it very difficult for them to do so! If the form asks for detail, provide it. Demonstrate that you DO meet the person specification and requirements for the job.

5. Not being contactable

You’ve made it through the application sift and the employer needs to contact you to invite you to interview… the email bounces back and the mobile number doesn’t work. Yes this has happened to me when trying to get hold of a candidate. The result: no interview, no job, and the next person on the short-list got the call instead.


Dr Deborah Watson, Director, Gradsouthwest Ltd.