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8 Mistakes to Avoid when Applying for a Job

08 February 2019
Besma Whayeb
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Making a mistake on a job application can be critical. If spotted by your potential employer, you could be questioned, reported, or even dismissed totally for the new job.

With over 1 million UK jobs listed on our site, we’ve seen our fair share of job applications – and their mistakes. When you start making applications, make sure you avoid all of these…

1. Don’t leave unexplained career gaps on your CV

When putting together your CV, it’s important to chronologically list your work history. However, if you have had a gap in your career, it’s better to explain it rather than leave it empty.

A career gap may make your new employer worry – they may assume there is a reason why employers avoided hiring you during this time. Instead of allowing this assumption, make sure to fill any gaps with relevant information – for example, you may have volunteered for a charity, or spent time working on your own business.

2. Don’t include ALL work experience and education on your CV

It may sound contradictory to our first point, but most people should not include all their work experience and education on their CV.

If you have had many jobs, or pursued many levels of education, you only need to highlight the most senior of these. We recommend listing your last three jobs, as well as your most senior education (for example, a bachelor’s degree), and any other job-specific education (e.g. accreditation).

The only case where you need to include everything is when you’re at the beginning of your career. Find out how to get a job with no work experience, and make sure to include

3. Don’t lie

This is good advice for both your job application, job interview, and work in general. Lying can easily get you caught out – and destroy any trust an employer has with you.

Lying on your CV or cover letter is particularly bad, because it is written evidence that you are willing to cheat an employer to get a job. You may be dismissed from the candidate selection process, or worse – fired from your new job.

4. Don’t express political views…

…unless your career involves working for a political party. Expressing a political view can be risky, as it may cause friction with your potential new boss. Instead, stay focused on the job, the business, and the industry. Job-related information is always best to include in your application.

5. Don’t express your religious views…

…unless your career involves working for a religious body. Just like political views, expressing a religious view can be risky, as it may cause friction with your potential new boss. Instead, stay focused on the job, the business, and the industry. Job-related information is always best to include in your application.

6. Don’t list “socialising” as an interest on your CV

If you wish to include interests or hobbies on your CV, ensure these are relevant to your job (or your personal brand). Socialising is a lazy way to say you have friends, and enjoy other people’s company. It’s the same as saying you like breathing, eating, sleeping – we all do, and it doesn’t add anything to your application

7. Don’t forget to check your application

Many jobs specification ask for organised, thorough employees. If you leave a mistake – such as a spelling mistake or a printing error – in your application, you are totally contradicting your application.

Make sure to check over your application before sending it on. This is a must!

8. Don’t leave your CV as a Word document

Finally, show that you’re a pro by saving your CV as a PDF, rather than leaving it as a Word document. This subtly demonstrates your computer skills, and means your application is uneditable, ensuring it will be viewed exactly how you intended.