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9 mistakes to avoid when applying for a job

Applying for a job is more than just sending one’s resume and work samples to a bunch of companies. It’s a comprehensive process that involves researching the job market, upgrading key skills, and shortlisting opportunities that perfectly align with a person’s proficiencies, experience, and salary expectations. Unsurprisingly, even skilled candidates often fail to make the cut. Keeping this in mind, we’ve listed some common mistakes one should avoid when applying for a job.

Not writing a cover letter
A cover letter is often overlooked as a supplementary document to the resume and other deliverables. However, it’s a crucial piece of paper that helps candidates be descriptive about their skill sets, experience, and suitability for the role and provide essential information that’s not a part of their resumes. A well-drafted cover letter can attract the attention of hiring and recruitment managers, as it’s typically the first document to be screened. While a resume provides general information on an individual’s qualifications, experiences, etc., a cover letter can be customized to specific job applications, allowing candidates to explain their eligibility for the position better.

Overlooking errors in the resume
A resume provides candidates with a golden opportunity to form a positive and lasting first impression on employers. It’s often among the first means of communication between an individual and the prospective company. Consequently, errors in this document can lead to a major setback for applicants, reducing their prospects of landing the job despite fulfilling all the role requirements. When drafting or updating a resume, individuals should cross-check every detail, ensuring the information provided is up-to-date and accurate. One must also proofread the text for grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors because such seemingly minute blunders can prevent candidates from being selected.

Failing to update one’s social media profile
As per a survey, 91% of employers used social media as a part of their recruitment process in 2022. Thus, an applicant’s social media profile is an integral tool to facilitate visibility among potential employers. An updated profile can help recruiters gain a holistic perspective of the candidate’s skills, experience, and suitability for the role. In contrast, an incomplete profile may prevent recruiters from considering the person, as they may not be able to gauge their full potential. So, individuals must update their social media profiles frequently, incorporating all essential details about their career trajectories.

Not following the recruiter’s instructions
Recruiters usually provide candidates with a set of requirements and instructions about the test, interview, and onboarding process. Following these instructions is vital not only to ensure a smooth application process but also to make a positive impression. Candidates who follow instructions well are perceived as diligent and efficient and stand a better chance of being considered for the role. Thus, one must carefully browse the requirements and instructions, attach all the necessary documents, and provide the required information without the recruiters having to ask for these details again.

Missing the deadline
Failing to submit the required deliverables on time reflects poorly on a candidate’s sincerity. Many recruiters may avoid glancing through such applications even if the individual satisfies the requirements for the role. So, one must submit all the deliverables to the hiring managers before the due date, giving them sufficient time to screen their profile and make the hiring decision.

Exaggerating or not mentioning achievements
There are two ends of the spectrum when it comes to mentioning one’s professional achievements in resumes. While some candidates tend to exaggerate their accolades, filling in paragraphs about irrelevant details, others fail to mention notable achievements. Exaggeration of achievements may cause a person to appear boastful, a quality that’s undesirable. In contrast, not listing important achievements may cause applicants to miss the opportunity of putting forward their proficiencies in the best way. The key is to strike a balance between the two extremes by highlighting but not overplaying one’s professional achievements.

Applying to too many jobs
It’s good to have backups in case one fails to land specific jobs. However, simultaneously applying to too many companies may divert a person’s attention from the primary objective of securing their dream career. Prioritizing quantity over quality prevents people from spotting the few good vacancies and instead shifts their focus to a bunch of less desirable offers. So, candidates should understand their expectations from the job-hunt process and earmark the opportunities that best fulfill those expectations.

Not preparing for job interviews
No matter how experienced one is with job interviews, the importance of preparation cannot be emphasized enough. Every interview entails a fresh set of questions, and being mentally prepared can go a long way in helping individuals provide satisfactory answers. Some strategies to prepare for an interview are recording one’s answers, browsing sample interviews online, and reading reviews from candidates who have already appeared for the company’s interviews.

Not sending a follow-up email
Last but not least, a “thank you” email after an interview can go a long way in reflecting a person’s ethics and sincerity toward securing the job. It’s also an effective strategy to ensure that one’s email stands out amid the hundreds of applications the recruitment team may receive daily in their inbox. The portrayal of such etiquette can play a crucial role in forming lasting impressions.

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