The first step to getting a job is filling out a job application - and in theory, it should be easy enough. Whether it's a job application that involves sending in a resume, or a literally just filling one form out at a retail store, the fact is that this first single step can make or break your chances at furthering your career.
HR reps really do judge people on how well they can fill out a job application. That being said, making a single major job application mistake or two can cost you a job you're well-qualified for. The following job application mistakes are the ones HR tend to hate the most, so make sure that you avoid making them while on the hunt for a new job.
Writing Down Why You Lost Other Jobs - Without Being Asked To
Believe it or not, HR reps have been coming forth saying that this is a trend that is on the rise. People believe that being forthright on their job application will allow new companies to see both their faults and their perks.
The problem with this is that it doesn't make you look good - at all. At best, it may make you seem overly blunt and honest. At worst, it'll make you look like a blundering oaf. Even if it's honest, it shows a lack of tact. In fact, being that open may make hiring companies wonder if you wouldn't be a bit too overly candid with others about more sensitive topics, too.
Spelling And Grammar Mistakes
Even if you are just applying for a job at Burger King, spelling and grammar still counts when recruiters look at your job application. These kinds of grammatical mistakes show that you didn't take your time to actually make sure that you put your best foot forward.
The fact is that you don't need to be an English major to be able to run your cover letter through SpellCheck, or to give your resume a once-over for major grammatical mistakes. Even checking to ensure that you capitalize the company's name correctly can keep you from getting your resume binned after a single glance.
The worst of the worst, though, happens when applicants misspell the company's name - or even their own names - right on their application or cover letters. Most company reps will not hire someone who makes this mistake, simply because it shows that the person in question legitimately doesn't know anything about the organization they want to work for.
Not Following Job Application Directions
Every single company has different rules and protocols in place when it comes to hiring new employees. This is because every company evaluates their employees differently. However, there are certain traits that are universally appreciated among HR managers - one of those being the ability to follow directions.
This job application mistake is one that actually helps managers decide whose resume is worth tossing in the garbage and whose isn't. A surprisingly large number of people either don't read the directions on job applications, or just don't care what HR reps want to have and "do it better."
Assuming that you know what HR wants is a huge mistake, and it's a common reason why managers toss job applications in the bin. Read what they want you to do, and follow those instructions to the best of your ability - even if it seems silly. This alone can put you far ahead of other applicants.
Addressing The Cover Letter The Wrong Way
Unless you legit can't find the name of the HR rep who will be hiring you, do not address your cover letter with the classic, "To Whom It May Concern" greeting. Or worse, don't be the person who makes the mistake of not even including an introduction on your cover letter.
It's impersonal, and often makes you appear like you're mass-mailing your resume and cover letter to other people. Sadly, this often gives you a very unprofessional look.
Make a point to research and find out the hiring representative who will be reading your cover letter and resume. It will make a huge impression on them, and it also shows that you're willing to go the extra mile to get the job.
Not Having A Cover Letter At All
Cover letters, even if they aren't read, are a crucial part of getting hired at any firm. The fact is that even the shortest cover letters show hiring managers that you understand that there is a certain decorum between potential employers and potential employees.
Handing in a resume without a cover letter is a lot like just showing up in your oil-stained sweatpants to a fashion firm, shrugging, and saying "Hire me." It just doesn't look good.
Faking Your Resume
Faking your resume is a great way to get a horrid reputation in your field, especially if you are applying for jobs that involve high levels of networking, talent, and certification.
Most HR reps who hire for major companies do thorough checks on references, certification, and degrees. Should you be caught in a lie, they will drop you like a rock and possibly even warn others of your lies.
That being said, that doesn't always happen. In many cases, people will not realize that you're faking your resume - and it may get you hired. However, that doesn't mean that you'll actually keep the job. Most companies who hire fakers and later find out will demote or fire them for it.
The bottom line? This is a great job application mistake to make if you want to ruin your life.
Applying To Jobs You Know You're Not Qualified For
A huge blunder that can wreck you is applying to a job that you know you can't do, have no idea how to do, and have no qualifications that resemble what you'd need to be competent in this. Even if you do somehow manage to snag the job, the chances of you being able to make it through a week is obscenely low.
The worst part about this is that hiring managers who see this may just make a reminder not to hire you for jobs that you are qualified for. After all, no one likes to have their time wasted. This tends to rank as one of those job application mistakes that can also burn bridges as a result.
Sending Out Job Applications While Your Social Media Is Foul
There are times when a person sends out a great application, but still doesn't get the job. People who do this often stay jobless despite having great credentials...only to realize that the reason they keep getting passed up for jobs is because managers saw what was going on in their social media lives.
If your social media shows how you got "totally wasted last weekend," then of course you're not going to get the job. Your online personality matters just as much as your resume. Not believing this is a huge mistake that can and will cost you a ton of job opportunities in your field.
Additionally, companies will get suspicious if they can't find you online. So, at the very least, do try to make a point to be online and be professional about it.
Making Jokes On Your Resume
When you are applying for a job, you should be positive and outgoing. However, you definitely shouldn't be overly casual and jokey about your resume or cover letter. It just signals to managers that you aren't going to take the job seriously.
Don't add tongue-in-cheek humor points on your resume like saying that your hobbies include "critiquing bad food online." If you have a professional photo you include with your materials, don't make a face or have it be a casual group shot.
This is one of the few job application mistakes that can land you on a Reddit thread for terrible applicants. Don't do it. Serious is good, so just stick to being positive yet professional, okay?