The act of applying for jobs is already daunting enough, but unfortunately, there are things that candidates do to disqualify themselves even before the interview stage. I’ve compiled a list of five mistakes I’ve seen as frequently as this last year. Heed these now, lest they be your downfall in the future.
You use the comments section inappropriately
This seems a given, but you’d be surprised at what people include in the optional “any additional comments” section that some job applications provide. One candidate wrote that the position was perfect for him due to how close he lived to work. Yes, it is beneficial to have employees live close by, but any hiring manager would prefer qualified candidates over close ones. Stating that the job is perfect for you is brazen enough, after all – we’re more concerned if you are perfect for the job, but citing silly reasoning just makes you look amateur. Other inappropriate comments? Making any inquiries about the position that could question your interest. After all, you’ve already applied – if there was a question about your interest, that should be established prior to applying or at wait until the scheduling of an interview.
You have silly, outdated, or missing contact information
Yes, something as small as your email address can impact your eligibility. If you’re still rocking an email with a nickname, outdated host, or worse – neglect to include one at all, it raises a red flag and you might get passed over, simple as that. Staying up to date and professional on your contact information just shows you are mindful of the details. Emails you use for job applications should be simple and stick to versions of your name. Another misstep? Including a home phone number and a cell phone number. Employers don’t need multiple ways to try and contact you, so use the phone number that you check most often and make sure the voicemail doesn’t fill up. Home phone numbers now appear dated and can make you look behind the times if that’s the number you exclusively rely on.
Your career aspirations don’t align with the job you are applying for
As far as the company is concerned, your career aspirations should be solely related to the trajectory of the job you are applying for. For example, if you are interested in owning your own coffee shop someday, yet are applying to be a bank teller, you wouldn’t want to mention your java dreams in your objective statement. Same goes for any side hustles you list on your resume, showcase your skills learned, downplay the level of involvement they require that could cause hiring managers to question your commitment.
You don’t provide the minimum required materials
We mentioned earlier how the validity of cover letters is questionable, however, if a company asks for it, you better be able to provide one. Same goes for references, transcripts, salary requirements, proposals, or any other item to help determine your candidacy. And yes I’d like to argue that some of these things are not indicative of how you’ll be as an employee, however, the job application stage is not the place to do so. If they ask for it, you should provide it.
Your candidacy generates more questions than answers
Is the job you’re applying for a major downgrade from your last position? Why haven’t you been working for the last two years? Are you applying out of state but don’t mention the ability to relocate? What is your visa status? There may be logical explanations to each of these that will not impact your eligibility, however, you need to address potential questions early on. Employers won’t want to spend excess time investigating your situation when they have a pool of applicants to choose from. I get that some questions are tougher to explain than others, especially if you’ve been terminated, however, there are tactful ways to address employment gaps in a cover letter that don’t have to dwell on what happened but can focus on what you’ve learned.