Top 10 things you shouldn’t do when applying for a job

Published: 29 Nov 2016 By William Beavis

developing a cv

1. Don’t randomly apply for jobs that you haven’t got a realistic hope of getting.

It’s a waste of your time and the recruiter’s time. Go for roles that are a fit with your experience and qualifications – it’s OK to apply for roles that will stretch you and give you that next step up, but if you have higher education qualifications and only a year or two of experience under your belt then applying for the role of Managing Director at Sony probably isn’t a good use of your time.

2. Don’t include stuff that’s personal

Once upon a time we all put down our date of birth, marital status, number of children etc. on our CV’s,  but it’s no longer necessary so don’t put it in there – in fact it’s illegal for an employer to ask for it from you.

3. Never lie.

Focus on the skills that you have, not those that you wish you had. A survey by CareerBuilder showed that 42% of employers questioned said they would consider a candidate who met only three out of five key qualifications for a specific role.

4. Stick to the two-page rule.

Try and keep your CV to two pages. With an average of over 60 CVs for every role, recruiters want to learn about you quickly. Making them trawl through an auto-biography that’s pages long won’t help you get through the door for an interview.

5. Don’t fall into the font choice trap.

When your PC or Mac has so many fonts to choose from it’s difficult to know which one to use. You shouldn’t use anything fancy like a Brush Script or a curly style like Comic Sans. Keep it clean and professional with a sans-serif font like Helvetica or Calibri. If you want a more traditional feel then go for Garamond which is a more modern version of Times Roman.

6. Never include a photo

Unless you are applying for a role in-front of the camera or where a photo has been specifically requested then don’t include one. They’ll see what you look like at the interview.

7. Never apply without a covering letter.

This is your first chance in your application to surface a handful of key points that are relevant to the recruiter and to capture their attention, so make the most of it.

8. Don’t ignore the formatting of your CV and covering letter

Getting the structure and presentation of your CV and covering letter is critical as it is the first impression that a recruiter will have of your skills and abilities. We’ve teamed up with LiveCareer to give you the best possible advice and guidance.

9. Don’t send off an application without someone else checking it.

No matter how many times you check your covering letter and CV yourself, someone else will always find something wrong. A misplaced comma or simple spelling mistake such as “form” instead of “from” can make all the difference between you being on or off the shortlist. Do yourself a favour and get someone you can trust to check your application for you. Their input could make all the difference.

10. Don’t dress for a night out when going for an interview

It sounds obvious doesn’t it? But think about what you are going to wear. Ask yourself if you should dress formally, smart casual or casual. Unless you are going to work in a beach bar, casual is probably something you should never do for an interview. Recruiters will expect you to dress appropriately for the role and the workplace environment. What you wear speaks volumes and will make a big impression on your potential employer the minute you step through the door.

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