We review hundreds of CVs and job applications on a daily basis for a variety of positions within the scientific, medical and engineering sectors and wanted to share with you the biggest mistakes we come across. The market is becoming increasingly competitive and it is up to you to make your application stand out from the crowd. Here’s our advice…
Irrelevant Applications - Please make sure that you read the job advert fully so that you understand exactly what skills are required for the position. If you background is completely irrelevant to what the company is looking for, simply don't apply. Not only are you wasting your time but you are also wasting the time of the potential employer.
Cover letter – Nothing stands out more to a potential employer than a well written, tailored cover letter provided to support your application. Not only does this show you have taken the time and effort on your application, but also that you have carefully considered the position, and your suitability, for the role on offer. If a cover letter is requested, send one. Nothing says lazy and demonstrates lack of attention to detail more than a candidate failing to follow simple application instructions.
Accuracy – It is essential that you read the job advert carefully and follow the application instructions provided. Address the covering letter/email to the correct person named on the advert and send any, and all, requested documentation. Again, failing to follow basic application instructions can be a sure-fire way to get your application on the reject pile.
Formatting – There is nothing worse that opening an untidy CV. Do not make a potential employer struggle to find your relevant work/education information in a mass of irrelevant content. Always have your contact details at the top and ensure that formatting, font, etc. is consistent throughout.
Spell Check – Seriously, spell check before you send any applications. If you are applying for a role along with 100 other candidates, do not give an employer any reason to dismiss you.
Email address – use a non-offensive, professional looking email address, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org is not going to look good to a panel reviewing your application. If you don’t have one, it is easy to create a more professional email account these days that you can use exclusively for your job search.
Final check – Before you click ‘send’ make sure you read through the entire application again. Check spelling, grammar and try to read from the perspective of the hiring manager to make sure the whole thing is tailored to the role and company you are applying for. If possible, get someone else to read your application before you submit.
For further resources to help with your job searches, please look at our advice page.