Five of the Biggest Mistakes Applicants Make

When submitting your resume and cover letter to a potential employer, the last thing you want to do is make a minor mistake that can make you appear to be careless or lazy. Check out our list below to see five of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make when applying for a position, and avoid them at all costs!

  1. Attaching the wrong document to your application OR forgetting to attach a document at all.
    • When attaching your resume or cover letter to a job application for an online submission, make sure you are attaching the correct document!
    • Tons of job seekers accidentally send an outdated resume or cover letter, or even a completely unrelated document.
    • After filling out an online application, some job seekers just completely forget to attach their resume. They will be so focused on writing an extensive cover letter in an email that they forget to attach their resume when they’re finished.
  2. Using slang or text message language in a resume or cover letter.
    • Using the “&” symbol instead of typing “and,” or adding a smiley face emoticon to your resume decreases your level of professionalism.
    • Make sure every document you submit with an online application has no spelling errors and is grammatically correct. You want to impress potential employers with your solid writing skills, not scare them off with juvenile text language.
  3. Forgetting to fully complete a resume template.
    • There is nothing wrong with using a generic template when you create your resume, but make sure that you have completely replaced the generic terms with your personal employment information.
    • Employers often receive resumes that have “Dates of Employment” written instead of the candidate’s actual dates of employment, or “Insert Company Name” instead of listing their former employer.
  4. Embellishing your job titles, dates of employment, or responsibilities.
    • Some job seekers like to embellish details on their resume in order to make themselves seem more qualified for the position they are applying for without considering the consequences those embellishments might have later on.
    • Most employers check references or verify past employment before formally making an offer to a candidate. This means that they will verify your job title, dates of employment and other details you might have fibbed about on your resume. When those embellishments are discovered, you could lose a potential job offer.
  5. Submitting a cover letter that you created for a different position.
    • Writing cover letters seems to be every job seeker’s least favorite part of the job hunt. This can result in them getting lazy and sending the same generic cover letter with every job application, or reusing already written letters for new applications.
    • Employers often receive cover letters that mention a different company, hiring manager, or job title in them, which are obvious signs that the applicant is using a cover letter they wrote to apply for a different job.
    • This mistake will lead employers to view you as a lazy professional who is unwilling to take the time to change a few basic details on their cover letter before submitting it.

These tiny mistakes can have huge repercussions on your job search. Show each potential employer that you are serious and dedicated to proving your worth as a candidate by making sure to avoid these common mistakes.

Maintaining Professional Social Media Pages

Social media can be a great resource for job seekers, but it can also be a large hindrance for those who don’t monitor their pages’ content. Make sure your social media pages present you as an employable, respectable professional before using them as a resource in your job hunt. Even if you don’t use Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to help you network and apply for jobs, some organizations go out of their way to check social media pages before presenting a candidate with a job offer. Read over our tips below to make sure your social media pages present you as a great candidate to any potential employer.

  1.  Use a professional, flattering photo as your profile picture or avatar. This means no pictures of you in your Halloween costume, making a funny face, or partying in college.
  2. Set your privacy settings accordingly. If there are any inappropriate or unprofessional pictures or posts on your social media page that you cannot delete, make sure they are not visible to anyone who visits your page.
  3. Delete anything you wouldn’t want a potential boss or coworker to see. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so even if you think your pictures are completely private, it might just be better to get rid of them.
  4. Link your social media pages to an email address you don’t list on your resume. Changing your name on Facebook or using a nickname on Twitter does not mean an employer can’t find your profile. If your profile is linked to the same email address you have on your resume, all an employer has to do is search for that email address to find your profile.

Keeping your social media pages looking professional and presentable will definitely help you in your job search. Don’t give potential employers any excuse to disregard you as an applicant by making sure your social media pages present you as a desirable, hirable professional.


How to Decode Job Posting Jargon

Job postings are typically vague and it can be hard to figure out exactly what a company is looking for. To help make your job search a little easier, we’ve provided a list of common terms used in job postings and decoded their meaning with some help from Check out the full article in the link below.

  1. Passionate
    • What it means: Ignore this word’s more romantic associations. When it’s used in a job posting, hiring managers typically mean “enthusiastic.”
    • How to demonstrate it: Research the company and position before applying. Mention any relevant information you find in your cover letter to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job.
  2. Dynamic
    • What it means: A dynamic candidate will have a lot of skills to bring to the table. They are also active, creative, and confident. Someone who can take initiative and doesn’t need to constantly prompted with more work.
    • How to demonstrate it: Prove your dynamism on your resume by showing examples of ways you’ve taken initiative in the workplace.
  3. Self-starter
    • What it means: Being a self-starter means you are able to take initiative. It can also mean that a hiring manager needs someone who can “hit the ground running” and won’t require a ton of training to get acclimated in their new role.
    • How to demonstrate it: Show that you have the capacity to learn quickly by highlighting that your skills and experience are a close match to what the employer is looking for.
  4. Flexible
    • What it means: A flexible candidate is able to take on tasks outside of their basic job description. They are also willing and able to work long hours when needed to meet a deadline.
    • How to demonstrate it: Mention specific examples of times you stayed late to finish a project or took on a job outside of your typical responsibilities.
  5. Team Player
    • What it means: This is a candidate who works well with others and can contribute as part of a team.
    • How to demonstrate it: Cite examples of times you worked with a group to finish a project. You can also mention sports or recreational leagues you are a part of, which can demonstrate your willingness to participate as a team member.


Informational Interviewing

Informational interviews are a great resource for job seekers who are having trouble finding work through traditional means. An informational interview is an informal interview where you meet with someone who is working in the industry or position that you would ideally like to find yourself in. A person with the job you want can tell you exactly what you need to do to get it. Use your networking tools to connect with a professional in your ideal industry, and ask them if they would be willing to meet for lunch or a brief meeting to answer some questions and possibly give you some advice. Read on for examples of some questions you could ask in an informational interview.

  1. How did you find your job?
  2. What kind of interview process did you go through for this position?
  3. What relevant experience did you have prior to starting this job?
  4. What are some of the key qualities you have that you feel are important to doing your job well?
  5. What are some things you have learned about your job that you did not know prior to starting it?
  6. What do you like most about your job?
  7. What do you like least about your job?
  8. Where do you see your career going from here?
  9. What advice do you have for someone looking to work in a similar position?
  10. Would you recommend this kind of work for someone with my background?
  11. Do you believe that I have the experience and qualifications necessary to get a similar position and do well in it?
  12. What would you suggest I do in order to increase my chances of landing this position?

While the answers to these questions could help you form a better plan of attack for your job search, they might also help you rethink your career plans. An informational interview could help you realize that what you thought was your dream job, might not actually be something you want to pursue. Also, you might realize that you don’t currently have the skills or experience necessary to land such a position, and maybe it is something you should wait to pursue further down the line. No matter the outcome, an informational interview can be incredibly helpful to job seekers. Whether you are looking for a job right now, or trying to plan out your future career, talking to someone who currently has your dream job could be extremely beneficial.

Customizing Your Resume and Cover Letter

Searching for a new job is a job in itself, and you should treat it as such; work! Although it may be easy to send the same resume and generic cover letter for every job posting, you are not doing yourself any favors by cutting corners. Customizing your cover letter and resume for each and every job you apply to could be the difference between you receiving an interview offer or not. From a hiring manager’s perspective, this is what a custom application says about you:

  1. You want THIS job, not just any job.
  • Taking the time to write a customized cover letter and tailoring your resume for a specific position will show the hiring manager that you are willing to put in time and effort to apply for this job, which means you really want it!
  • Sending a generic cover letter and resume shows a hiring manager that you must not really want the job that badly, since you weren’t willing to put in the extra effort to customize your application.
  1. You really are qualified.
  • By customizing your cover letter for a specific job posting, you can specifically mention the skills and experiences that make you a great fit for the position.
  • You can also highlight these skills and experiences on your resume, which will further show a hiring manager that you really are qualified.
  1. You know the value of hard work.
  • Making the effort to customize your application will show a hiring manager that you are willing to work hard to meet your goals. You understand that making the extra effort to customize your application could improve your chances of landing an interview.
  • When hiring managers receive generic cover letters or cover letters that were written for other positions, they will assume the applicant is lazy and unwilling to put in extra effort to reach their goals.