I have three objectives: to understand the nature of the person that powers the professional; to understand their unique contributions and achievements; to understand how this is relevant to my client and the job in question.
“If I don’t see what I want, within seconds I have clicked the deselect button.”
So what makes me pass over a seemingly solid application? Here are some of the biggest mistakes I have come across in my 10 years’ running Blue Sky Careers:
1. Silly mistakes and missed opportunities
Silly mistakes such as spelling errors reflect a rushed or lazy application. I associate this sort of mistake with CV flickers, not serious job applicants. Typos and grammatical errors are a no-go on CVs – enough said.
2. Impersonal applications
Don’t miss the opportunity to personally connect with the advertiser. If my name is on the advert, address your suitability profile to me, not some impersonal “Dear Sir/Madam”. If my name and number is on the advert, call me to make a first impression and connect before sending your application. Forget formalities in job applications, use persuasive English to connect, tailor and evidence your experience to that role.
3. No cover letter to tell your career story
Another massive mistake is submitting a CV without a covering page or bio. Why leave the interpretation of your CV to someone who has never met you? Use the cover letter to highlight examples of your skills, experience and qualifications in the most economic yet illuminated way. It should tell your career story and encourage the advertiser to read your resume.
4. “One size fits all” applications
I’ve read some amazing job applications in my time but the one thing that constantly befuddles me is the lack of customisation for the job in question. If an employer mentions specific industry experience, you need to customise your CV and cover letter to show that you meet the required criteria. If you know you don’t tick all the boxes, don’t submit an irrelevant application, register your interest for upcoming roles.
5. Lack of structure and too much waffle!
How you structure, write and include relevant information is critical to your application. Most people include unnecessary details and omit the glaringly obvious. Well-written, Plain English applications, told from first person perspective, will always draw attention. Engaging the services of a qualified career writer can put you leagues ahead of the rest if you really want that job. A pair of fresh eyes brings objectivity to your application and can provide you with a template that can be used time and again for successive job applications.
Blue Sky Careers has developed a Living your Career series. It covers how to write applications, interview well and manage your career for bigger and better opportunities. The series provides valuable information on how to win jobs and stay visible and in-demand. For more information visit www.blueskycareers.com.au/career-services.html