Job hunting is tough. It’s even harder if you’re a fresh graduate, with little to no work experience and limited knowledge of the industry you want to enter. With that in mind, here are 10 common job application mistakes by fresh graduates:
1. No Cover Letter
Never send a resume without a cover letter, even if it is stated in the job posting that only resumes are accepted. It tells the employer that you can’t follow instructions and shows a lack of attention to detail. Even though you may be highly qualified for the job, employers also look at whether an applicant is a good fit for the organization. If you don’t cover this in your cover letter examples, they may think that you are not interested enough in working at their company.
2. Wrong Email Address
An email address saying drdre95 or partygirl69 would raise red flags with any prospective employer before they have even opened up your cover letter. Make sure that you have a professional email address, including your full name or at least your initials and last name. Avoid using nicknames as these are not appropriate for a cover letter for job application.
3. No Specific Purpose/Goal Statements
Your cover letter needs to have a specific goal or purpose so it can be distinguished from the cover letter samples of other applicants. It is always a good idea to include a cover letter goal statement, as this tells the reader what you want to accomplish with your cover letter and what position you are applying for.
4. No Name
Do not begin with generic salutations. They are impersonal and do not give the employer an idea of who you are or why you are qualified for the job. Your name is important in an application letter, so always include it at the start of your cover letter.
5. Poor Grammar
Even if English is not your first language, you still need to make sure that your application is grammatically correct. Employers tend to shy away from candidates who don’t even take the time to press the space bar or use full sentences. Take some time to edit your resume cover letter for errors before you submit it and make sure that you ask someone else to proofread it as well, just in case you missed something.
6. No Clear Objective
When writing a cover letter, you should have a single objective, whether this is to apply for a specific job or to express your interest in working for the company. If you are applying for a specific position, it may be beneficial to include some of the qualifications from that job posting so that it is clear which role you are interested in. Include the name of the company and the position you are applying for somewhere in your cover letter to make sure that your goal is clear.
7. Poor Content (Job Objective)
The content in your job objective should be all about the employer’s needs, not yours. The employer wants to know what kind of value can you offer the company, not what kind of job you want. Always focus on how your skills fit into their needs and show that you have done research to understand the company before you apply for a job.
8. Bad Contact Information
Never make the mistake of sending out an application letter without double-checking the address and email. All cover letters should include a contact name and phone number where you can be reached, plus an email address where the employer can contact you. If your email address is not professional, it may be better to include your personal email instead. If you want, you can have a letterhead template and place this contact information there.
For letterhead and cover letter templates, you can check out Venngage.
9. Not Tailored to the Company/Position
No matter what job you are applying for, always tailor your cover letter so that the content is specific to that company and position. This means including information from the job posting or company website that is relevant to your skills and experience. If there is nothing from the employer that is relevant to you, this may be a sign that they don’t have a suitable position available for you at this time.
It’s not easy to spot your own typos, which can cause you to send out a sloppy application with incorrect information. Always reread your cover letter before sending it and ask someone else to proofread it for you as well just in case there are any mistakes that you missed.
Most people are unfamiliar with the process of applying for a job. It’s not always easy to know what mistakes not to make, especially if you are new to the process. We all want an employer who appreciates our skills and experience, but there are some things that might be sabotaging your chances before even getting in the door. Now that you know what they are, you can now avoid them much more easily.