What Not To Do, Job Application Edition: 5 Tips

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Everyone has been there: in such desperate need of a job, be it part-time or full-time, that you’re sending out applications to just about anyone.

You’ve sent out multiple applications, but can’t quite figure out why you’re not hearing back from employers.

Here are some common things you may be doing that affect your job application.

1. Nothing says “hire me” like a blank email

Typing up a personalized email for every single place you apply is time-consuming.

You may think everything that the employer needs to know is in your attached resume and cover letter, but a blank email shouts: “I’m too lazy to take the time to personalize this application for you.”

Your email doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) as detailed as your cover letter, but you should give your potential employer a brief overview of yourself, what job you’re applying to, and why.

If a company receives hundreds of job applications, the ones that have blank emails will have an even harder time standing out from the pack and making it to the next round of the process.

2. Your resume is just straight up terrible

You’re young and you may not have loads of relevant work experience.

That’s fine, but in 2014 there’s no reason your resume should have zero layout, be extremely disorganized, and/or be longer than two pages.


You won’t get to the top of the pile if you miss out on basic essentials.

It’s so easy to have a clean, crisp resume. Get started by searching “free resume templates” in Google and download one ASAP – all you’ll need to do is fill in the blanks.

In the long run, you’ll probably want to make a resume from scratch, but seeing samples can help you start thinking about (and planning) your own.

If you don’t have much work experience, showcase other accomplishments you may have, such as volunteer experience or extra-curricular activities. There’s no reason your resume should only include your education.

Your resume should also not be anymore than two pages, and there’s really no reason it should be more than one. Take a look at what’s on your resume: the drama award you won in grade 5 is probably irrelevant now.

3. You miss important details on your resume/cover letter

Everyone has done it: sent out an application without changing some key pieces of information.

Forgetting to change your career objective or including a cover letter for the wrong position are both surefire ways to get overlooked.

Take your time when applying for jobs and proof read everything. When an employer gets an application with the wrong company and position listed on it, it’ll more than likely go straight into the trash, no matter how qualified you are.

4. Job description? What job description?

You got so excited when you realized a new position had opened up at your favourite business or dream workplace that you forgot to read the entire job description before you applied.

Had you read the job description you’d realize that the employer asked for you to attach a portfolio (which you didn’t), or asked for someone who speaks French (which you don’t).

Don’t waste your time – or an employer’s. Take the time to read the job description thoroughly and make sure you have the specific skills required for the role.

It’s important to know what you’re applying for, and know if you are even qualified for the position beforehand.


Make sure that time spent on each job application is a sound investment.

5. Your online presence is cringe-worthy

What you post online is there for everyone to see.

While not every employer will search your online presence, many (indeed, most) will.

This doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to have fun, but stay aware of what’s being posted on your social media platforms.

Check the privacy settings of your Facebook: a lot of people don’t realize how open their pages are. Remember that even if you tweeted something inappropriate years ago, it’s still there! Be conscious of what you’re posting because it’s next to impossible to go back and delete it for good.

You’ll never know if a tiny detail is the only thing holding you back from landing on the top of the application pile – cover your bases and check every detail you can.

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