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The 7 most common mistakes in job applications

The 7 most common mistakes in job applications

European Business Listicle 22/2019

If you are looking for a new job, you cannot avoid a comprehensive application, including cover letter and resume. In order to convince the recruiter, your application documents should be absolutely free from mistakes. We have identified the seven most common errors in job applications and explain how you can avoid them.

1. Incorrect information

HR specialists often see errors in cover letters. Make sure that your personal data is correct (name, address, telephone number, e-mail address). The address of the company and the name of the contact person must also be correct. Nothing is more embarrassing than if you apply to Mr. Miller, but there is no such person in the company. Be sure to include a subject line indicating which position you are applying for.

2. Standardized entries

Nothing is more boring as an introductory sentence than ‘I have read your job advertisement with great interest and hereby apply for the position’. You can do better! Every HR specialist has read this sentence 100 times, and if your cover letter starts this way it will simply elicit a yawn. In your introduction, make a personal reference to the company or the advertised position. Grab the reader’s attention with a creative and unusual introduction.

3. Copy of an application template

On the internet you will find numerous application templates. Avoid the copy-paste principle. HR staff read standard templates just as often as boring opening sentences. Take your time to produce an individual application. If you want to be creative, design your curriculum vitae and give it a little bit of colour. Hyphens give clarity. Think about the industry to which you are applying. At a bank or insurance company, overly creative designs are not well received.

4. Retelling the CV

You should not use the cover letter to relate your background. Your curriculum vitae is where you clearly list your previous experience and your professional career. In the cover letter, you should focus on individual aspects that make you an interesting candidate for the job. These can be, for example, professional achievements or soft skills. At the new entrant level, you will focus on your area of study, the topic of your bachelor's or master's thesis, or extracurricular work that qualifies you for the job (eg volunteer work).

5. Sending the application without attachments

Today, applications are sent almost exclusively by e-mail. Take care not to forget attachments. The attachments should also not be too large, compress your certificates into one PDF document (document name: "Attachments: Application_Max Miller"). Cover letter and CV should be correctly named (for example "Letter_Max Miller" and "CV_Max Miller"). Before submitting, double check that your files are not too large to ensure that the addressee receives them.

6. Don’t lie

Of course, competition in the form of other applicants is intense. Nevertheless, avoid adding false statements and fictional qualifications to your application. Do not lie. In the interview, at the latest, the lies will become apparent, and you will have lost any chance of getting the job.

7. Avoid the subjunctive

Another mistake can occur in the last sentence of your letter. Do not write in the subjunctive. Do not finish the cover letter like this: ‘I would be pleased to receive an interview invitation.’ It is better to write: ‘I look forward to the opportunity to discuss the job in more detail.’ That sounds a lot more convincing.

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