How to Avoid Common Job Application Mistakes Video

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  • 0:01 Job Application
  • 0:39 Before the Interview
  • 3:24 At the Interview
  • 5:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Applying for jobs can be a stressful time but knowing the common mistakes that people make during the application process can help lessen the stress. In this lesson, we'll look at common mistakes people make before and during a job interview.

Job Application

Perry is looking for a job. He just graduated from college and is applying to many different jobs. Whenever he finds a job opening near where he lives, he sends his resume and cover letter out to the company.

Perry is in the job application process, which includes sending a cover letter and resume, going to an interview or interviews, receiving a job offer and negotiating the job offer.

But Perry is stuck in the first step of the process. That is, he's sending out his cover letter and resume, but he isn't getting any calls about an interview. What gives? Let's look closer at some of the common job application mistakes that Perry might be making.

Before the Interview

So, Perry's sending out his resume and cover letter to every single job posting that he finds. But he's not getting any calls for an interview. What's going on?

There are many reasons why Perry might not be getting called into an interview. Some of the more common mistakes that people make at the beginning of the job application process include:

1. Sending a generic cover letter

A cover letter should be specifically tailored to each job application. At the very least, it should be addressed to the person hiring and mention which position at the company you are applying for. Really good cover letters should give examples for how the applicant meets the criteria outlined in the job posting.

But Perry hasn't been doing any of those things. His cover letter is addressed 'To Whom It May Concern,' and it is the same for every job application. Not only that, the one time he did personalize it, he accidentally sent out that cover letter to several other companies, despite the fact that it clearly referenced the specific job posting by the other company.

2. Applying for every job opening at a company

Many times, Perry has noticed that a company has several job openings. He sends his resume and cover letter for all of them, figuring that if he doesn't get one of them, he might get another.

But this reflects badly on Perry because it makes him look like he isn't really passionate about the jobs he's applying to. Further, most companies will consider an applicant for all open positions, even if they are applying to a different position, so it doesn't really make sense to apply for more than one job at a single company, anyway.

3. Applying for a job you aren't qualified for

Recently, Perry noticed a management position open at a company that Perry would like to work for. And management - that would be really cool for Perry to be a manager! The job posting said that the person had to have experience in the field, and Perry doesn't have any, but he figured it couldn't hurt to apply, anyway.

Applying for a job you aren't qualified for is a guarantee that you won't be called in for an interview. After all, if they have qualified applicants, they'll go with one of those people and just ignore people like Perry who apply without the appropriate qualifications.

4. Applying for a job you aren't intending to accept

After all of the times that Perry has not been called back for an interview, he figured that he needed a confidence booster. So when his local fast food joint advertised a job opening, he sent his resume and cover letter to the manager. After all, he figured, it would be good practice.

But Perry wasn't actually planning on accepting the job if it was offered to him, which is unethical. The manager at that fast food joint could spend time and energy interviewing and considering Perry for the job, only to have Perry say, 'No, thanks.' So Perry should focus on applying only to jobs that he is truly interested in.

At the Interview

With these tips, Perry revises what he's been doing. He begins sending out a cover letter that is tailored to each job posting, and he stops applying to every job he sees and focuses on applying only to those that he is qualified for and interested in. As a result, he's got an interview!

Unfortunately, the interview stage of the job application process is also fraught with chances for Perry to mess up. Among the mistakes he might make at the interview are:

1. Dressing wrong

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