The 7 biggest mistakes made by job hunters and how to avoid them

Avoid the usual pitfalls to court your future employer

You’ve had a great time at university but now it’s time to put that hard-earned degree to use. Admittedly, looking for employment can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’ve only ever held down summer jobs, but you can give yourself a helping hand by avoiding a few of the obvious pitfalls.

Quidco Discover takes a look at the biggest mistakes made by those applying for jobs and how you can avoid them.

Sending a shoddy CV

Your Curriculum Vitae is likely to be the first port of call for any potential employer, so if you get it wrong there’s a good chance you’ll never be invited to interview. Detailing your educational background and professional experience sounds simple enough on paper (pun deliberate), but if you’re not undertaking the task with scientific precision there are plenty of pitfalls.

Using weird and wacky fonts, having a bizarre email address, making text too small or too big, spacing information over dozens of pages, not checking for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors and not including key contact information are all major blunders. If you’re not sure of the correct format there are plenty of sites offering help across the web.

Lying about experience

Worse still, is lying about past achievements. By all means showcase your skills, but over-exaggerating just to get your foot in the door could lead to being embarrassingly uncovered as a fraud further down the road. It’s worth remembering that CVs should not be treated as a one size, fits all solution. Tailoring your resume and cover letter for each job application is vital.

Leaving social media profiles open

If you include details of a Twitter account on your CV, ensure unprotected tweets don’t show you in a bad light. Under no circumstances should you discuss job applications or talk openly about interviews. In truth it’s best to make all social media accounts as private as possible. To assume potential employers won’t search for you on Facebook and Linkedin is naive.

Years of effort at school, university and work count for little if you’re literally caught with your pants down thanks to photos of that Tenerife stag weekend you went on two years ago.

Turning up late and looking scruffy for interviews

Unless you’ve been knocked over by a bus on your way to the meeting, turning up for an interview late and looking an absolute wreck is unforgivable. Make sure you know when and where you have to be and plan your journey accordingly. Once you’re there, turn off your phone; you don’t want it going off!

Like it or not, personal appearance will be judged as an expression of who you are and your approach to your work. While the specifics of what you should wear differ from job to job, it’s worth investing in a new outfit which fits with the company image. If you need a suit and haven’t bought one before, make sure you check out our guide first.

Always pay attention to personal grooming, ensure bags, briefcases and shoes are smart and get feedback from friends and family.

Moaning about former workplace

While you may not like your current or former employer, it’s not a good idea to be overly critical about in talks with a potential future manager. An interview is the perfect platform to demonstrate your qualities and enthusiasm, it would be a shame to waste that opportunity by coming across as someone who moans and bears grudges.

Not knowing anything about the role or company

If you are going for an interview and know nothing about the company, you are immediately giving yourself a mountain to climb. Learn as much as possible about the position prior to your interview and prepare suitable questions on relevant topics so that you’re able to hold an intelligent and well-informed discussion about the company.

Predicting what you will be asked is a risky game, although having a basic idea of how you wish to structure answers is a good idea. Many recruitment agencies offer valuable advice on how best to tackle more general questions.

Resorting to gimmicks to gain attention

It’s amazing how many job seekers attempt to stand out from the crowd by resorting to tacky ploys. Fancy resumé designs, video resumés and sending gifts to interviewers, to name but a few, serve only to raise suspicions…they don’t instil confidence in your ability. Qualifications, experience and an ability to showcase your strengths make the difference. Stick to the basics and do them well.

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Andrew Allen / Editor

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