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14 Dumb Job Application Mistakes The Employment Recruiters Often See People Make

14 Dumb Job Application Mistakes The Employment Recruiters Often See People Make

Ahhh, the CV.

Employers and recruitment agencies alike have seen many horrors of the CV malfunction. Whether you are ready to move on or there have been signs that you may be losing your job, keeping your CV up to date and ready to rock and roll when you see a fabulous job is all part of the process.

We all want to be adored and employed for our talents and skills, don’t we? So avoid these 14 dumb job application mistakes, and you’re golden.

1. It’s out of date and irrelevant

Make sure you have updated your skills and experience to be relevant to the current working world. If the last time you updated your CV was a few years ago, it may appear to be a relic of an age gone by, with no relevance to current technologies, working habits, or culture. Make sure you update all areas to be current, relevant, and brilliant.

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2. Getting the name of your future employer wrong

Getting the name of your prospective employer wrong is an instant black mark. Although you may well be copying and pasting some covering letters as you apply for jobs, at least make sure you double check to make sure you have the right name. The consequence of getting a name wrong means you might miss out on your dream job.

3. Using a template & leaving the wrong information in

Using a templates as a guide to a great C.V can be a handy starting point, but beware; leaving in information that’s not yours? Not good, my friend. Check, check and double check.

4. Sending the wrong covering letter

Sending the wrong covering letter can be as embarrassingly awful as addressing the letter to the wrong guy. Creating a bespoke covering letter for each application does take a little more time, but reaps rewards in the long term; just don’t send the wrong one.

5. GIving too much personal information

Share enough information on your C.V to give an impression of your well-rounded personality, and leave the detailed descriptions of your bizarre personal pastimes on the cutting room floor. Aim to convey a flavour of your social life, hobbies and interests; don’t labour on your shrine to Elvis or the finer points of your medieval re-enactments at weekends.

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6. Spelling and grammar mistakes

This is the most common error of them all. Read your C.V after you have written it, then read it again, again and again. Take a break from it, come back to it, get someone else to check it, get another person to check it after that, then re-check it yourself. In short, just make sure you have caught any errors before you send off your application; glaring bloopers don’t do you any favours at all.

7. Talking badly of your current employers

Although your current boss may not be the world’s best, no prospective employer is going to feel too enamoured about taking you on if you speak badly of people you have worked for in the past. Talk up your skills and experience, and leave it there.

 

8. Forgetting to attach the attachment

It’s a classic error, yet it’s made time and time again. Write a email/covering letter and send your C.V as attachment but check, check and check again that you have attached it. Those first impressions don’t come around too often.

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9. Sending a file in the wrong format

Once you have remembered the attachment, send it as a PDF or Word doc, never in Publisher, Pages, or an obscure format that will render all your hard work to be jumbled text or an unreadable file.

10. Using a ridiculous email address

Think very carefully before including an email address you have had since uni on your C.V. Having your alias as beermonster23@hotmail.com may not give the first impression you require.

11. Writing far, far too much

You don’t need to write a life story or novel;  War and Peace this isn’t. Keep it simple, informative, easy to read and, at the very most, on two pages of A4. Look for examples of great C.V’s, but remember to check if you copy and paste your format, lest you come a cropper.

12. Not being yourself

Trying to masquerade your personality and qualifications as someone else on your CV will get you unstuck at some point. Talking up your experience and skill set too much will only pave the way for short shift in the new job should you get it, leaving a short employment tenure that you will need to explain on that C.V next time around…

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13. Check your referees are happy to refer you

This can be a killer point, but so important. Take is as read that your new employer will want to seek opinions about you from previous bosses, so make sure they know about that in advance and are happy to do so. Consider carefully who you ask, and make sure it’s someone who will give a glowing report, not a disgruntled boss with an axe to grind.

14. Don’t try too hard

Printing your CV on fluorescent paper, sprayed with perfume or sent as apiece of performance art may make you stand out from the crowd in the wrong way. Unless you are 100% sure that the company you are applying to welcomes and appreciates creative gestures, keep the conceptual buffoonery away from your CV. Please.

More by this author

Jo Gifford

Design Guru, Writer, and Founder The Dexterous Diva and the Killer Content Academy.

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Last Updated on April 9, 2020

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common types of leadership and how you can determine which works best for you.

5 Types of Leadership Styles

I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

The Democratic Style

The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

    The Autocratic Style

    The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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    The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

    While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

      The Transformational Style

      Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

      Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

      Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

        The Transactional Style

        Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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        The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

        The Laissez-Faire Style

        The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

        In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

        Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

        You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

        Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

        The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

        Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

        I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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        In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

        What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

        Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

        1. Context Matters

        Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

        2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

        When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

        As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

        “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

        The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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        As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

        When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

        The Way Forward

        To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

        As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

        “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

        The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

        If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

        Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

        Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

        More Leadership Tips

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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