Most common mistakes that candidates make when applying online

The advent of Job boards online and online application systems has facilitated the application process for candidates, making it relatively easy to apply for the many thousands of roles advertised everyday. However, this facilitation has its downside, with many candidates making ill-advised applications as well as sloppy and careless applications.

Some of the most common mistakes that candidates make include:

1)      Applying for positions for which they are not qualified. It is amazing the number of candidates who apply for roles that they couldn’t possibly do either through lack of sufficient experience, qualifications or both.

2)      Applying for positions that they are not really interested in. This is surprisingly common and you have to wonder what is going on in some people’s minds. Some of the responses we get from these people include: “I just thought I would throw my hat in the ring, to gauge the market, but I am not really looking”.

3)      Lack of professionalism when applying online. Just because it is easy to apply is no reason to lower professional standards. Check your spelling and grammar, use a cover letter, spend some time making sure that your cover letter and resume are appropriate to the role sought.

4)     Using embarrassing or inappropriate email addresses can easily put off prospective employers, for example lonliluver@email.com or purv57@easy.com.au, are very unlikely to gain you any brownie points, but a surprising number of candidates do use similarly gauche addresses.

5)   Make sure that if you use social media sites, that you don’t have tasteless postings or photos on your site. Know the difference between a professional site like LinkedIn, which is designed for professional networking, and Facebook, on the other hand is a social site, designed more to connect family and friends. Having a quality, professional photo put up on your Linkedin profile is vital as it may be viewed by a potential employer.

6)      Poor spelling, grammar and typos. Don’t be surprised if your job application is rejected if you have typos and misspellings in your cover letter or resume. Most employers will forgive a typo or two, but if there are a number it will appear that you are just careless. Similarly with poor spelling, there is no real excuse as everyone can use a spellchecker. Poor spelling and typos just say that you don’t really care.

7)      No cover letter. There is only one thing worse than no cover letter and that is the type of cover letter that just says: “I would like to apply for job XYZ”. It is good to be concise, but too brief a cover letter (or no cover letter) says that you couldn’t be bothered. A cover letter is your chance to explain why you want the role and why you are suited to the role, so make good use of the opportunity.

Taking the time to make a thorough job application is time well spent. Unfortunately the ease of application can foster a slip-shod approach to applications which unfortunately lets many applicants down. The motto is: “Take your time, when you do it on-line”.