Given the current job market, it’s especially important for all job seekers to make the best first impression they can. More often than not, the first impression is in the form of an online job application. Whether submitted directly to the employer or through a job search website, there are three main pitfalls that can ruin your chances of even being considered for the position you are applying for. When applying online, most jobs come with a detailed set of instructions for the applicant and include the types and appropriate formats for the materials requested. Almost always, an employer will request a cover letter. The cover letter is extremely important because it’s first opportunity the employer gets to hear your voice, as opposed to just seeing your resume and qualifications. These tips and a few others will help you put the best foot forward.
Not Following Instructions
This first might sound like a no-brainer, but it needs to be noted. Following instructions is key to a successful application. Completing a task as told is a fundamental job skill that all employers look for in a candidate. Failing to follow the instructions not only makes you look bad and careless, but it could very easily result in your application not being viewed at all. Some things to consider when you are submitting an online job application are: formatting, attachments and above all completing the application instructions to a T. First, when reading a job posting take note of how they ask for the materials to be submitted. Some employers prefer the cover letter in the body of an email and others would like it sent as an attachment. Despite your personal feelings on the matter, send it the way they ask. If additional materials are required, such as a writing sample or portfolio, make sure those are properly attached as instructed also. Some job search website don’t give you many options. If this is the case, consider submitting the application directly to the employer, if possible. If not, make sure you follow the instruction within the job posting website as well. Another consideration is file formatting. If an employer does not specify how to format documents, putting your materials in a PDF is the best solution.
Generic Cover Letter
As mentioned earlier, your cover letter is the first opportunity you get to share your voice with your employer. Don’t make the common mistake of submitting a generic cover letter. Each job you are applying for is different, even if they all are in the same field or have the same description. Employers look for something unique you can bring to the job. While it seems like a pain, make sure you structure each cover letter to the job, using key words from the job listing in your own words. Don’t make the mistake of copying the job posting or description word for word, but try to use similar language that shows this letter is directly towards this specific posting. Employers want a worker who is passionate about their profession, so let this show in your cover letter. Don’t be overly friendly, but make sure your letter isn’t robotic. Employers are often reading many, many cover letters a day. They are going to look right past those letters that seem copy and pasted from the Internet. You want this letter to ?sell? the employer on you, your qualifications and your capabilities to do the job. Always remember to edit your letters, and if possible ask a family member or friend to read over it, especially if they work in the same field. Never use language that is overly casual or slang terms. If you know the name of the person you are sending the letter to, be absolutely sure you’ve spelled their name correctly. While in many cases, applying for a job may seem time sensitive, it is always worth the extra effort to make sure your cover letter, resume and any additional materials are meticulously edited and accurate. This will ensure that your application will be taken seriously and give you an edge above the rest.
Misspelling the Name of the Company
Though this seems it need not even be brought up, but be absolutely sure you spell everything correctly. From the name of the recipient of your cover letter to the name of the company, even the job title, you must make completely sure you have spelled everything perfectly.