The Top Don’ts of Online Job Applications

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After you submit a job application, you might get fixated on your email inbox, refreshing it over and over again in hopes that the coveted notification is seconds away. As time goes by and no response arrives, your hope begins to fade. What did you do wrong? Maybe you ignored one of the don’ts of submitting an online application. 

We’ll run you through the top mistakes to avoid, but if you want to make sure your resume is application-ready, it’s best to send it to a professional.

Don’t lie

One of the main reasons hiring managers don’t call back is that they feel candidates lied on their application. Liars don’t make good employees—as soon as recruiters find out you lied on your application or resume, you are guaranteed not to get the job. Even if you don’t get caught and do land the job, it’ll eventually show in your work. Not only will this affect your current position, but it might also affect your future career. Don’t lie—tell the truth!

What if you’re telling the truth but the hiring manager doesn’t believe you? That probably has to do with the way you’ve conveyed the information on your resume. Try to take an objective look at it and ask yourself whether you’d believe it if you saw it on a stranger’s resume. If anything might appear suspicious to a third party, rework it to make it more believable. Also, back up your assertions with accomplishments, numbers, and stats as much as possible—numbers are hard to fake.

Don’t be generic 

If you’re submitting multiple applications a day, it could be tempting to send the same resume to all companies, but that only sabotages your chances. Instead, consider what each company is looking for and tailor your cover letter and resume to reflect that. Hiring managers can tell if you’ve submitted a generic resume; to them, it’s a tell-tale sign that you’re not right for the position. Be specific by referencing the job you’re applying for and describing why you’re the best candidate for it. 

On a similar note, don’t use a generic cover letter or resume to apply for different positions at the same company. The hiring manager will definitely notice. Don’t apply for more than one position at a given company—you’ll probably just come off as desperate. Select the position that you’re most qualified for and home in on that.

Don’t ignore the directions

If the job posting contains specific guidelines for applicants, be sure to follow them and answer all questions honestly. It can be easy to overlook some of the directions, but that could get your application tossed out. Failing to follow the directions in the job listing is like forgetting to write your name on a test.

Don’t forget to proofread

Before sending an email with your application, make sure you’ve used proper grammar and haven’t said anything inappropriate. Have you addressed the hiring manager by name? “To whom it concerns” won’t win you any favors. If you do your research and still can’t come up with the right name, at least go with “Dear Hiring Manager.” Also, don’t use the email address you created when you were 13—use a professional one that consists of your name, perhaps with your middle name or job title if necessary. 

Don’t submit a shoddy resume

You can apply to hundreds of vacancies, but that won’t get you anywhere if your resume is populated with glaring mistakes. Your dreams of career success (at least at those companies) could be crushed by a single misplaced keystroke. Don’t let grammatical errors or missing/outdated information be the reason you don’t get the job you want. Always double-check before submitting your resume! If you need help, consult an expert.

Before you send another application, make sure you’re not making any of the grave mistakes we’ve listed here. The best way to be certain that your resume is working for you is to enlist the help of a resume expert.

Improve Your Resume or CV