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Tips To Avoid Job Application Mistakes

Aug 17, 2007
As fallible humans, we're all entitled to make the occasional mistake. However, given that you're reading this, it's probably a safe assumption that you don't want to make any errors while applying for a job. Though fear of failure can overwhelm you, it's a better idea to keep an eye on yourself to avoid a major faux-pas that will sabotage your chances of success.

The first and most damning mistake a job seeker can make is to assume that simply applying for the position will be enough to get an employer's attention. These days, mass communication means that any job has a large number of applicants applying. Some employers even find themselves in the unenviable position of having to distinguish real applicants from applicants who are applying for the job in order to fulfill a requirement of a welfare program.

Knowing that there's an arduous screening process involved in filling an open position, you should always contact your potential employer via telephone, email, or if possible, in person, asking a simple question, such as whether your application was filled out correctly or if your resume was received, to show that you're interested in the job. One call, visit, or email should be enough to show that you truly do want to fill the position available.

A major mistake some people make is either lying about or covering up parts of your resume that may not leave a good impression. Phrasing can certainly be important in saving face, but lying or denying any shortcomings on your resume can be fatal to your chances of success.

If your embarrassments in your prior work history must be addressed, try to put a positive spin on them, or at least make sure that you don't put a negative spin on past bad relations. Try to discuss past situations neutrally without sounding like you're trying to gloss over shameful secrets - employers have a sixth sense about denial.

A mistake that's almost as bad as lying on your resume is hard-to-decipher buzzwords to highlight good points of the resume. Unless a buzzword is part of a title, it's best to find a more traditional way of phrasing your strengths. The opposite extreme of using hip, trendy words is sounding too dull and legalistic, which is something else to avoid when applying for a job.

These same rules apply to cover letters as well. Ease of reading and professionalism can be hard to balance, but it's very possible, so strive to achieve that tone. It never hurts to be just a little friendly (but still professional) in your choice of words for a resume or cover letter. Slang and buzzwords are mistakes, but the right tone will go a long way.

There are many more mistakes people tend to make when searching for a job or attending an interview meeting. Some of the worst errors are eating during an interview, or making crude jokes about someone's race or gender. Of course, there are many small, subtle mistakes people make when job seeking that are often unconscious, so if you want an extensive list of what not to do when trying to land a job, look up the information on the internet.
About the Author
John Edmond owns and writes regularly for Careerbuilder Jobs where you can find more information and advice on how to survive the job interview and succeeding in the job selection process.
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