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Application form blunders

Application forms are quite straightforward and make it obvious what you need to incorporate. However the list below illustrates how certain temptations will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons.

1) Swear words and superlatives

This is not the way to add energy and punch to your applications. So hopefully you won’t swear! Plus, the use of words such as ‘amazing’, ‘wonderful’ and ‘fantastic’ is just too much, and doesn’t prove anything. Instead, you need to show what amazing things you can do.

2) Over-complicated words

You might think it will make you sound more intelligent but it will probably have the effect of seeming like you picked words randomly from a thesaurus. Use simple language – long, fussy words at best hide your skills and at worst suggest that you are trying to disguise a lack of skills.

3) Writing everything and anything

In the stress of the job hunt, it can be very tempting to write about everything that has ever happened to you. However, this approach can prove detrimental rather than beneficial. Don’t waffle on about irrelevant details that will draw attention away from the tasks which clearly demonstrate your abilities.

4) Belief that your application will get a long, appreciative reading

Employers read so many applications and CVs that they definitely don’t enjoy it. Your application will be scanned quickly and you need to catch an employer’s attention within 20 seconds with a clean design, clear points, and use of key words.

5) Bulk sending

There is nothing that annoys recruiters more than a generic application and they are easy to spot. Always tailor your CVs and forms to make them relevant to every job and every company. Get a friend to look over it to ensure that your skills and experiences are immediately clear to the reader.

6) Modesty

Although you might not be a natural show-off, you should never undersell yourself. Modesty in application forms will not get you noticed. Everyone has a story, so focus on what you have learnt, developed and achieved.

7) Over confidence leading to arrogance

Although you should avoid modesty, by the same token you should steer clear of being boastful. Don’t let your ego get the better of you. Listing your achievements honestly and accurately will speak volumes for you but don’t go too far by worshipping yourself. Find a balance.

8) Sucking up

There is a fine line between enthusiasm and sucking up. Of course you should take an interest in the company and identify the parts of their business that you admire. This will have the effect of being subtly flattering. But an employer doesn’t want to hear how you have always wanted to work for their company since you were a child. Outspoken praise is just embarrassing.

9) Forgetting about or rushing the design and spacing

Ensure that your CVs and applications look as good as they sound, and you’ll make a better overall impression. You should avoid classing this part of the process as a secondary consideration because a sloppy CV represents you – would you turn up to an interview without washing your hair, or in dirty clothes?

10) White lies

It might be tempting to exaggerate or even lie outright, but it could actually cost you an interview or the job. For all you know, the one little thing you lied about may be something you get asked about, in which case you’re stuck.