Five of the Biggest Mistakes Applicants Make

When submitting your resume and cover letter to a potential employer, the last thing you want to do is make a minor mistake that can make you appear to be careless or lazy. Check out our list below to see five of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make when applying for a position, and avoid them at all costs!

  1. Attaching the wrong document to your application OR forgetting to attach a document at all.
    • When attaching your resume or cover letter to a job application for an online submission, make sure you are attaching the correct document!
    • Tons of job seekers accidentally send an outdated resume or cover letter, or even a completely unrelated document.
    • After filling out an online application, some job seekers just completely forget to attach their resume. They will be so focused on writing an extensive cover letter in an email that they forget to attach their resume when they’re finished.
  2. Using slang or text message language in a resume or cover letter.
    • Using the “&” symbol instead of typing “and,” or adding a smiley face emoticon to your resume decreases your level of professionalism.
    • Make sure every document you submit with an online application has no spelling errors and is grammatically correct. You want to impress potential employers with your solid writing skills, not scare them off with juvenile text language.
  3. Forgetting to fully complete a resume template.
    • There is nothing wrong with using a generic template when you create your resume, but make sure that you have completely replaced the generic terms with your personal employment information.
    • Employers often receive resumes that have “Dates of Employment” written instead of the candidate’s actual dates of employment, or “Insert Company Name” instead of listing their former employer.
  4. Embellishing your job titles, dates of employment, or responsibilities.
    • Some job seekers like to embellish details on their resume in order to make themselves seem more qualified for the position they are applying for without considering the consequences those embellishments might have later on.
    • Most employers check references or verify past employment before formally making an offer to a candidate. This means that they will verify your job title, dates of employment and other details you might have fibbed about on your resume. When those embellishments are discovered, you could lose a potential job offer.
  5. Submitting a cover letter that you created for a different position.
    • Writing cover letters seems to be every job seeker’s least favorite part of the job hunt. This can result in them getting lazy and sending the same generic cover letter with every job application, or reusing already written letters for new applications.
    • Employers often receive cover letters that mention a different company, hiring manager, or job title in them, which are obvious signs that the applicant is using a cover letter they wrote to apply for a different job.
    • This mistake will lead employers to view you as a lazy professional who is unwilling to take the time to change a few basic details on their cover letter before submitting it.

These tiny mistakes can have huge repercussions on your job search. Show each potential employer that you are serious and dedicated to proving your worth as a candidate by making sure to avoid these common mistakes.

WAI Staff

Whitman Associates is a professional staffing agency serving businesses and job seekers in the Washington, D.C. area. Since 1972, we’ve been dedicated to matching highly qualified candidates with a wide variety of temporary, temp-to-hire and permanent positions. We prioritize the needs of both our clients and candidates to ensure successful, lasting relationships.