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

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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 It’s out of date and irrelevant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 August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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