You’ve probably heard it all before- avoid grammatical errors in your CV, don’t bore your interviewers with unnecessary details, dress like a professional, research about your employer, etc. Maybe you’ve done it all, yet with little or no significant outcome, and you’re tempted to say “here we go again” on seeing this topic. However, you might be unaware of certain fatal mistakes you’ve been making. Let’s help you reassess your actions, there could be things you’re not doing right, especially with your cover letter and on interviews.
Avoid the following:
Saying You Are the Ideal Candidate
Be cautious. Don’t ever say you are the ideal candidate for the job. Unless you’ve seen the applicant pool and you know the hiring values aside from the job description, you can’t assume you are the ideal candidate.
Here’s a tactic you can use instead: Restate primary qualifications of the job and show how your past experiences and skill set match the requirements. In a concise manner, state examples of skills and past achievements you have that are relevant for the job.
Claiming You Are a “Hard Worker”
Experience have proven that those who claim to be hard workers either 1) substitute effort for finesse, often yielding below-average results or 2) understate the intellect and creativity they contributed in their roles, attributing success solely to effort and long hours. The best approach is to convey that you are capable of giving the time and taking initiative to bring ideas to fulfilment, not that you are a ‘hard worker’ who loves to log in countless hours in an unimaginative setting.
It might also be better to avoid positive but overly used words such as “team player, motivated, excellent communication skills”, especially if you do not have experiences to buttress these claims.
Addressing correspondence “To Whom It May Concern” is an example of what not to do. Get the name of the hiring manager or recruiter to personalise each letter. Likewise, use the company’s name and identifying details (location, industry, etc.) rather than writing “the company” or “your industry” in a bland letter.
Check word use and verify spelling before sending the cover letter. A letter filled with errors will portray you as being shoddy.
Too Many Sentences That Start With “I”
Avoid too many sentences that start with “I”, which place emphasis on your needs. Make the cover letter about the employer, not about you. Discuss how you can meet the company’s needs and help solve its problems.
Saying You Just Need a “Job” or Need a “Good Job with Benefits”
Revealing that all you need is just a job is not inspiring to an employer. Though being open to any job seems like a good strategy in times of high unemployment, this approach comes across as desperate and dull, rather than practical, when expressed in a cover letter or interview.
Discussion of Past Failures
You don’t have to highlight or emphasise imperfections and disappointments with your past employers, co-workers, or economic conditions. Discussing what you have learned from positive and not-so-positive experiences in an interview can be meaningful to an employer, but avoid mentioning failures in your cover letter.
Flaunting a Career Change
Career changers are often not attractive to employers, because they often believe such individuals are merely seeking to enjoy the salaries or rewards associated with the new field. Moreover, due to the lack of industry knowledge and contacts, career changers would have to be trained and inducted to perform basic duties, which implies extra cost for the employer.
If you are truly in the process of building a career in a new field, state what you have done already to accomplish this professional transformation: list certifications and degree programs earned, or internships completed. This communicates to potential employers that you are not relying on them to help you make a dramatic change; rather, you are offering your depth of knowledge and insights.
Note, however, that many who claim a career change are simply seeking to apply existing skills to a new industry or a new company. If this is the case, discard language relating to “career change” and emphasise how your capabilities would enable you to contribute immediately to the employer.
Making yourself appealing to a potential employer could be perplexing; however, the most effective strategy is to concentrate on showing how you can contribute to the employer’s success, while avoiding the mistakes examined above.