Episode 48: 8 Deadly Sins of Applying for a Job


What irritates recruiters?

I am going to give you a few pointers, so you can make sure you have a positive reaction from recruiters.
Remember that recruiters are often time poor and therefore will only scan your application documents very quickly, so you have to make a positive impact fast.

Often as a job seeker you are up against a considerable number of candidates. Some people say it’s an element of luck to get through the first screening. Personally, I think you have far more power over your application than that suggests – you just have to make sure you do the right things.

So, let’s focus on this question: what will irritate the recruiter, the first person to screen your documents?

  • Not having a CV that clearly shows relevance: To say it again, recruiters will not spend much time on your application so you need to highlight why you are interesting to them. Let them clearly see that your application is relevant to the job. Talk about the the skills that make you relevant. Out of all the recruiters and hiring managers I spoke to, the most generous of them would only give an applicant’s CV 15 seconds.
  • Cut and paste CVs: Applicants that leave obvious clues that they have been cutting and pasting parts of their CV really annoy recruiters, if you haven’t put any effort into your application then why should they read it? So if you are cutting and pasting, (and there is nothing wrong with this, if you are doing several similar applications), then proofread it carefully for the correct job application details, the correct company, and the correct addressee. Don’t leave clues.
  • Typos: Spelling and grammar mistakes are a huge no-no, obviously.
  • Overly long CVs: Your CV should ideally be two pages – never more than three.
  • Poorly formatted CVs: CVs with numerous fonts, for example; or crazy artwork which you think gets you noticed, but actually gets you rejected.
  • Jargon: This can often detract from your CV when the jargon that you are using fits well with your current job, but won’t be understood by the hiring manager for your new job. Try not to use jargon.
  • Not following the instructions found in the job advert: Often companies will want you to apply in a specific way, not following these instructions will reflect poorly on you and almost always ensure that you fall at the first hurdle.
  • Being unfocused: For example, saying in your cover letter that you are happy to do any available job shows that you aren’t focussed on anything specific, and will come across poorly.

So there you have it, the eight most irritating things that you can do with your application documents to get yourself rejected at the first hurdle.

On the other hand, if there are three simple pieces of advice that you should bear in mind, they would be:

  • Be relevant
  • Make your strengths clear to the reader
  • Proofread everything you send

If you are sending applications at the moment, I wish you every success. If you have questions, please ask me.



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