Top 5 Mistakes Candidates Often Make In Their Job Applications
Avoid these mistakes to ensure you make the best impression on recruiters when applying for a job.
1. Applying for jobs you’re not suited to
Always read the job profile advertised and only apply if you meet at least 80% of the requirements. Applying for every position you see advertised makes you a serial applicant and recruiters stop taking you seriously. You might even miss out on a suitable job because they’ve seen your CVs so many times they don’t bother reading it anymore.
2. Not highlighting relevant experience and qualifications
Again, read the job profile advertised carefully. When listing your responsibilities and experience, make sure you mention all tasks/functions you’ve performed that are relevant to the role you’re applying for. Don’t undersell yourself or dwell on irrelevant things.
3. Poorly written CV
Your CV should be well written and clearly laid out – and a maximum of two pages. It must show:
- Personal details, including address, contact number and ID number. You don’t need to include your marital status unless it’s specifically required.
- Education, including formal qualifications and relevant certifications: Note that if you’re new in the work world or applying for a job that doesn’t require tertiary qualifications, include details of your Matric. But if you have a track record of relevant work experience, there’s no need to.
- Work history starting with most recent job and working your way back. Clearly state dates, name of employer, job title. List your responsibilities in bullet form. Again, if you’re inexperienced or new to the relevant field, you can include part-time or partially skilled jobs (showing what relevant skills you learnt there). If not, list only full-time professional employment.
- References. List at least two former employers and give their contact details. If you don’t have space, simply insert the line ‘references available on request’.
4. Applying for a position for which you’re clearly over-qualified
An example might be applying for a job that requires one to three years’ experience when you have 10+ years’ work experience. You might get shortlisted because you meet the requirements, but you’ll have issues with the salary at the end of the process.
5. Not considering restraint of trade.
There may be businesses you’re not allowed to work for because they are a direct competitor of your current employer or a company you’re consulting for. Always check your standing with any organisation you apply to.