If you’ve ever wondered what mistakes to avoid with job applications then look no further than a worst case example below.
According to Gil Rudawsky in a November 1, 2011 article “Hideous query email sparks 6 tips for PR job-seekers” in Ragan’s PR Daily:
“This week, my firm received possibly the worst job query I’ve ever seen. That’s saying a lot, given the stacks of résumés and letters sent to our firm each year.
Given the tight job market and need for skilled workers in our field, this applicant sets the bar for how not to conduct a job search and sell yourself. “
The original letter looks something like this:
I am a student from XXX State University I plan on graduating this spring and was very interested in applying at your firm. My major is public but I have had experience in advertisement, campaign management, and social media. I will of course sent you a portfolio and resume upon my graduation I just find it appropriate to contact you early. I extremely respect your business and I feel I have the ability to add to your already sterling reputation.
Sent from my iPhone
What are the problems?
What Do You Offer?
Everyone should have a unique selling proposition that really hits the hot buttons of your chosen customer.
In this case: the employer.
What can you give them that will solve their problems?
Unfortunately there’s a lot of missing details or “bang” in the message here.
Past successes are missing and so are any recognizable names of companies in the industries.
Give your employer details about how you made money, saved money or made something go fast.
It’s a #valueofferfail otherwise.
Are You Impersonal?
A template letter like this is about as personal as being hit with a hammer.
The message doesn’t even mention the hiring person’s name (a big no-no).
You should always build a connection and show that you’ve been doing your homework on the company and its people.
If you’re as lazy as this person you will never get hired easily (and your job application will end up in a digital trash box).
Bad Spelling and Grammar
What you write and how you write are both important in showing off your communication skills.
If they don’t understand you then they don’t hire you.
At the same time if you spell like a 10-year old then you’re also sending the wrong message about how capable you are.
Your job application like any ad or piece of writing is about creating an image in the mind of the reader.
If your application is lacking details of successes and has terrible spelling or grammar then you’re sending the employer the image of in-experience, lack of confidence and terrible communicator.
The worst part as Gil points out is sending this message, resume and cover letter from an iPhone, which shows how little time he spent doing it properly on a computer.
Sometimes the little things that appear okay (like sending a job app with “Sent from my iPhone”) are actually working against you.
So those are four tips on what to avoid in a bad job application – bad value, impersonal touch, terrible spelling and presenting the wrong image.
Do you have any examples of really terrible job applications or remember doing one yourself?
Send them along.
Or if you want more help or tips just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS. If you need the ultimate reference guide on tactics to create a great job application (or career) you can check out my book “101 Job Search Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Landing the Job.“
(Above Photo via Business Communication Headline: man with word rejected)