…and how to break them
1. Thinking that simply emailing your CV will bag you the job
Most employers would like to see that you’ve seriously considered the role you’re applying for, rather than having just uploaded a CV on the off-chance that you’ll be selected.
Cure this: Always use a cover letter, and failing that, personalise your introductory paragraph on your CV to the job you’re applying for.
2. Not taking all staff seriously
When calling or visiting the company you’re looking to join, don’t make the mistake letting your interviewer be the only one you aim to impress. Everyone from the receptionist to the toilet cleaner can potentially have an influence on whether you join the team.
Cure this: Imagine it’s your first day. Start making connections from the moment you enter the building.
3. Sending your CV in bulk
There’s nothing worse than receiving an email that has also been sent to another 20 people. Even worse, is where the email contains something along the lines of “I’m really interested in working for a company with a reputation like yours.”
Cure this: The idea is that you should be emailing employers separately and personalising the emails. The lazy option is to address the email to yourself, but add the recipients in the ‘BCC’ box. Note: They will most likely know you’ve done this.
4. Not realising your ability to negotiate
Some roles are notoriously hard to fill, and therefore that market is in your favour. If the position asks for a degree in engineering, for you to live within 10 miles of the workplace and is paying £35,000, it would not be unreasonable for you to argue a case where you live 15 miles away, but have a degree and 10 years experience and would take £33,000.
Cure this: Believe in yourself, and know that a 100% perfect candidate is rare!
5. Disregarding things you’re not qualified in.
Imagine that an advert asks for a qualified CNC operator with at least 3 years experience. You’ve got 10 years, but no qualifications. You leave the ad, thinking ‘oh well’
Cure this: Let them know that although you don’t match the role requirements 100%, you still think you’re a great candidate. Perhaps they’d be wiling to put you through a course for the missing qualifications. The tip from the last point is relevant here. Why does the employer want qualifications? If it’s to prove you can do the job, then you could offer to do a free trial, demonstrating your skills.
6. Underestimating the interview
Many people do not realise how influential the agency interview is .this often means that candidates turn up with informal attitudes, casual dress and a lack of enthusiasm.
Cure this: Treat every avenue as an opportunity. Even if you turn up in a suit and it isn’t needed, you’ll still look like you were enthusiastic for the event.
7. Being reactive rather than proactive
Do you upload your CV to a job board, then sit back relax and wait for the offers to roll in? It’s a very bad habit that leads to I-can’t-get-a-job syndrome. ( A common condition where candidates try very little to find work, but complain that there is no work available!)
Cure this: Try a range of tactics. Hand out your CV to companies in the flesh, apply online to specific vacancies, call companies to enquire about vacancies, look for graduate schemes and apprenticeships, sign up to agencies, attend jobs fairs and open days, email hiring managers, network on LinkedIn etc.. there are plenty of things you can be doing to find work.
8. Using a generic cover letter
If you’ve got one cover letter that you use when applying for CV’s, then your applications will not stand out.
Cure this: The perfect CV would contain the reason you want to work with this specific company, what experience you have that makes you a great candidate, and your current situation (in relation to their start date, working hours etc).
9. You’ve lost the will to live
There comes a time in some candidates lives where they will give up. They will stop searching for their dream job, and in desperation, apply for anything that looks vaguely do-able. This means that the candidate doesn’t try as hard, as they’ve taken a base level option.
Cure this: Know that the more interviews you don’t take seriously, the more basic your application, the less enthusiastic you sound over the phone – the longer your search will take.
10. You’ve not updated your CV
You’re applying for vacancies in the food industry, as you’ve been working in this sector for a year or so now. You send our your CV for jobs similar to yours, but no-one is interested. Why? You’re sending out your 2-year-old CV. *duh*
Cure this: Every single time you apply for a job, take a look at your CV. Is the right information prioritised? Is the most up-to-date information on there? If you’re applying for contrasting roles, you may want to prioritise the duties that relate to one role on one CV, and other duties on another copy. You can have more than one CV!