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Could these 5 common job seeker mistakes be costing you your new career? Stop sabotaging your own success!

Posted: 18 January 2018

Starting a new career is cause for celebration, but the process of actually getting hired can be time-consuming and frustrating. If you find yourself asking ‘why can’t I get a job?’ despite applying for vacancies left, right and centre, you may be falling foul of these common job seeker mistakes. Knowing where you’re going wrong is half the battle – read on to find out how you can put it right!

1. Sloppy CVs

Recruiters tend to be short on time and may have hundreds of CVs to look through – ones littered with spelling and grammar mistakes are likely to go straight in the reject pile. More importantly, a sloppy CV just gives the impression of someone who doesn’t care and lacks attention to detail. Get several people to check your CV through before you send it, so you’re confident it’s all correct.

2. Lazy cover letters

If you’re applying for lots of different roles, it may be tempting to rely on templates and just send the same cover letter over and over again. But this won’t win you any favours with hiring managers. Generic content which isn’t tailored to the role/company comes across as lazy and a little dull – it’s worth spending time researching the company you’re applying to, and demonstrating your enthusiasm for the role and business in your cover letter.

3. Not marketing yourself properly

You may be applying to work for some amazing big-brand names, but the most important brand in your career quest is YOU! What makes you desirable? You need to market yourself properly to entice hiring managers – make them buy into your uniquely compelling brand.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you already have a digital footprint – go ahead and Google yourself to see what comes up! Consider what you want people to associate with you – think qualities, skills, organisations. Be aware of the publicly available information on your social media profiles: it’s all part of your personal branding.

4. Looks aren’t everything…except when it comes to your CV!

Lengthy CVs are tedious, especially when there’s a whole stack to read through. Two pages is more than enough to cover your relevant skills and experience – think of your CV as a concise overview rather than an in-depth report of your working life! 

Overly ‘pretty’ CVs are also a big no-no. Avoid messing with font style and colour, background and layout (with the exception of applying for a Graphic Designer job where you want to showcase your skills). A clean and simple format is best. Make it easy to scan for information with clear headings, bullet points for key info, and keep paragraphs to a few lines focusing on one topic. 

5. Saying what you did rather than what you achieved

If you’ve ever written a CV before, there’s one phrase you’re almost certain to have used: ‘Responsible for’. Whilst details of your previous roles are all well and good, what a hiring manager’s really looking for is evidence of what you’ve actually achieved. 

To highlight your successes in the most effective and impactful way, use active verbs and steer clear of simply listing your duties. For example:

Weak point: Responsible for delivering multi-channel marketing campaigns which increased revenue

Strong point: Increased revenue by 20% through targeted multi-channel marketing campaigns


Job searching can be stressful – give yourself the best possible chance to get noticed by hiring managers by avoiding these common mistakes, and you’ll get that new career in no time!

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