Mistakes that will get your job application tossed into the trash
That headline is vicious. I know. But hear me out. Gorilla is a small company. 13 people and counting. While we don’t do a lot of hiring, we do get a lot of interest in the form of job applications. When it’s time to fill a position, I typically have 100 to 150 resumes and applications to review.
So, what’s the first thing you can do to make sure you don’t get tossed out of consideration? Eliminate sloppiness. The following are notes about the most common mistakes I see in the application process.
Please – save yourself!
Spelling and grammar
I can’t believe I’m writing this. But, I am. Don’t ignore spelling and grammar in your application process. That means in your resume. That means in your application. That means in all written communication with your potential employer.
I understand – mistakes happen. In fact, I’m sure this blog post has a few. But, when it comes to trying to land a job, nothing communicates that you don’t really care more than spelling and grammar errors.
“But I’m just not a great writer.”
That’s fair. Many of us aren’t. But likely, someone you know is. Ask them for a second set of eyes. It will be well worth the effort. Additionally, run everything through a spell check and even consider hiring an online proofreading service.
Inconsistencies in formatting
It sounds crazy and small and like I’m being way too picky, but please, make sure your resume is formatted consistently.
That means using the same type of dash throughout. That means using the same spacing throughout. That means either always using abbreviations for things like “street” and states or never using them. These mistakes don’t really affect the content at all, but they communicate a lack of attention to detail. And that’s something on which employers can’t afford to gamble.
How do you prevent inconsistencies in formatting? When you proofread, try doing it backward. Meaning, start at the end. This will force you to not read for actual content, but instead to only check for things related to formatting. Note: you still need to read it from the beginning.
Button up the application
Use capital letters when they’re supposed to be used: “i’m really interested in gorilla 76 because while at the university of kansas…” is not acceptable. And not just because you’re a Jayhawk.
Also, avoid text-speak like the plague. Answering “idk” to a question about what you want to get out of an internship or job won’t fly. I guess neither would its unabbreviated version.
Don’t neglect style in the email communication
If you get to the point of emailing a potential employer about a particular job, don’t relax your focus on grammar and spelling.
For many companies, Gorilla included, this becomes almost the first interview. If someone is sloppy early on and clearly lacks attention to detail in the first few emails, I assure you, they won’t ever make it in for the in-person interview.
If you don’t take your interaction with your employer seriously, how can you ever be trusted to take interactions with clients seriously?
The little things matter big time
In high school, I had a teacher. Mrs. Ames. She taught me a lot about a variety of different topics. But the thing I remember most about her classroom was a sign that she had on the bulletin board.
“Countless, unseen details are often the only the difference between mediocre and magnificent.”
Heed these words and good things will happen in your job search.
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