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How To Write A Job Application: Mistakes To Avoid

how to write a job application
Finding a new job can be challenging. But avoiding common job application mistakes will make the process much less frustrating for you and the person reading your application.

In this blog, we're exploring how to write a job application. As recruitment specialists, we see thousands of CVs, cover letters and applications every year. So we know a thing or two about how to find a job you love.

To secure the job of your dreams, here are some errors to avoid. 


CV Mistakes | How To Write A Job Application 

i) Spelling & Grammar
Check your CV for spelling and grammar issues. With so many applicants applying for roles, those CVs with bad spelling and grammar will go straight into the reject pile*. 

We recommend using Grammarly - it's free to use, and highlights ways to improve your writing. Just make sure you've set the language to British English, as it defaults to American English. 

*Of course, some people, including those with dyslexia, can struggle with spelling. Organisations should make allowances for people with a learning disability and should recognise when spelling and grammar mistakes are not due to negligence. 

ii) Formatting
If your CV is formatted in a way that is unprofessional or too hard to read, you're unlikely to retain the reader's attention. 

If you're unsure how to format your CV, we suggest searching for professional CV templates online. There are many CV builders that help you create stylish-looking CVs that will help you stand out. Some cost money, but many are free to use.

iii) Irrelevant information 
Have you ever been stuck on a date where the person keeps rambling on and on about themselves? Boring, right? 

That's what it feels like for someone reading your CV when you've stuffed it with lots of irrelevant information. 

Your CV should be tailored to the role you're applying for, so carefully consider whether the experience and skills you discuss are pertinent.


Cover Letter Mistakes | How To Write A Job Application 

i) No cover letter
Nobody likes writing cover letters. They can be tedious to write, and can seem a bit redundant when you're already providing your CV and sometimes answering additional application questions.

Even so, 83% of those responsible for hiring candidates consider cover letters to be an important part of the job application process - so writing one is still essential (sorry!). 

Some job application websites now let you 'quick apply' for a role by submitting your CV without a cover letter, but we always recommend sending in a cover letter unless the job application specifies not to. 

ii) Generic cover letter
As with your CV, your cover letter should be tailored to the job you're applying for. So make sure yours addresses the requirements of the role, and explains what you like about the company and why you believe you'd be a good fit. 

A good cover letter should include:  
  • A brief introduction to explain which role you're applying for
  • Your reasons for applying for the role, with an emphasis on what you like about the company and what you believe working for the company will help you to achieve
  • What you believe you will contribute to the company, including skills you have gained through experience 
  • A summary ending, including a thanks for considering your application, and an expression of hope that you will be invited to interview

Online application mistakes |  How To Write A Job Application 

i) Failing to follow instructions
Sometimes, companies prefer you to respond to a series of questions through an online application process, rather than sending in your CV and covering letter. 

This is usually because the company wants to ensure it has the same level of information about every applicant so that they can make a better-informed decision. 

For that reason, failing to provide information in the way that the application instructions specify will likely see your application rejected. So make sure you read and re-read the instructions before hitting send.

ii) Spelling & grammar issues
When you're using an online application system, be aware that some do not have their own spell check facility - so if you're writing your answers directly into the online form, you could be caught out. 

Make sure you carefully proofread your responses, and ideally draft answers in a word processor or on Grammarly before copying and pasting them into the application. 

Final thoughts

Your job application is much more likely to be successful if you avoid making these common job application mistakes. What small changes will you make to improve your CV & cover letter?

Next steps 

Want more support with job applications? Send your CV to Eden Scott. We offer tailored CV, job application and interview technique support to our candidates. 

Have a question? Get in touch. 

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