Mistakes in applications will happen and may cause you problems – but you need to know what to look for and how to recover.
It is the height of Graduate Scheme season and you will (or you should) be sending out applications to all your dream positions. But not so fast. Application forms are perilous and you will be competing against hundreds and sometimes thousands of other graduates - So you need to keep your mistakes to a minimum.
Here's a handful of the most common mistakes we hear about from employers.
1. Spelling and Grammar.
It's a classic but it keeps on happening. Despite years and years of full time education, many students and graduates struggle with their its and it's, and your and you'res.
Many online application forms provide text boxes for you to input answers to questions, experience or other fields, but these should be avoided. Unless you have a very good spell and grammar checker as part of your web browser, you should always write your answers in your word processor of choice (Word or Pages etc.).
Remember – Just because a word is spelt correctly does not mean its write. Think autocorrect.
2. Wrong names, wrong jobs.
Some of us struggle to remember names but this shouldn't happen in job applications. Getting a company name wrong happens but it is a pitfall of using template cover letters.
Employers will dismiss your application instantly if they see a different company's name on your form. There's no easy solution to avoid this – you just need to be diligent. If you do use template cover letters you need to be extra careful about company names, job titles and finer details surrounding the jobs.
Top Tool – Ctrl + F or Cmd + F will help you rout out pesky company names in large bodies of text.
3. Clichés and Buzzwords
Are you Energetic? Enthusiastic? A real go-getter? But these are just words and employers know that – what they really want is evidence!
Your cover letter or "personal details" should not sound like an interview with a candidate from The Apprentice. Trying to impress employers with a range of clichés and buzzwords is unlikely to succeed. Unless you can provide solid examples of you enthusiasm or proactivity you should avoid meaning less hyperbole.
Alternatively – Talk about your passions mixed with experience which supports your career aspirations.
4. "That'll-do" attitude
We know it can be dull when you fill out application form again and again – repeatedly filling out personal details and personal statements. A slap-dash attitude to any of these will direct your application to the employers Declined pile.
Employers are not being sadistic when they are asking for all these details and information. They genuinely care, or at least think it's important, what you got at GCSE, why you are interested in this particular role and what relevant experience you've accumulated.
Remember – If they've included it, they want it answered – don't skip anything!
5. Answering different question
Nobody said application forms are easy – employers do like to throw a few curve balls at you. However, you need to face these head on.
Very similar to interviews, do not try and swerve a question and give an answer you feel more confident in – just answer the question as best you can. Employers can sniff out when you try to pull a fast-one, and they also know some of the questions are intentionally tricky.
Don't panic – Your answer might not be perfect but don't try and bluff through it. Just give it a go.