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Top Graduate Job Application Mistakes – Part 1

By Amy @BubbleJobs

When you’re a graduate searching for your first job, I know first-hand how tempting it can be to just fire off CVs left, right and centre, in the hope that someone somewhere will like the look of it and invite you for an interview. After all, there’s so many vacancies available… and you don’t want to miss out!

On top of that, I know just how desperate you can feel when all of your friends land jobs before you (confession: post-graduation, I didn’t get a job until October while all my friends secured great jobs months earlier. The result? Feeling extremely sorry for myself and practically ignoring all of my uni friends (fearing they’d tell me how amazing their new jobs were!) while binge-watching Prison Break day after day – and this was in the days before Netflix!).

The problem? The more desperate you get, the worse your applications will become as that enthusiasm you had when applying for your first couple of vacancies drops to virtually non-existent when you hit application number 30!

To point you in the right direction, I’ve created a couple of blogs that outline the most common job application mistakes graduates make when applying for jobs. We’re currently advertising for a new Digital Marketing & Social Media Executive to join Bubble Jobs – so again, I know first-hand that these mistakes are still being made – and, from an employer’s perspective, it can be a pretty frustrating experience….


Not Mentioning The Niche You’re Applying For In Your CV/Cover Letter

Whatever job you’re applying for, it’s always a good idea to mention the industry/niche eg. digital marketing, the role sits in in both your cover letter and CV. Why? Because you need to at least sound like you have an interest in the industry you’re applying to work in. Seriously, employers want to employ passionate graduates who have a genuine interest in carving out in a career in their industry – they don’t want graduates who are submitting the same CV to every single job they’re applying for, whether it’s a job in a supermarket or a top five tech company.


Using Generic CV Templates

Working for Bubble Jobs, I see a lot of CVs on a daily basis – and one key thing I’ve noticed is how many of them look the same. And when I say the same, I mean Exactly. The. Same. OK, so unless you’ve got great design skills, designing a CV can be tricky and using a generic CV from the internet or even Word can be tempting – but you need to resist because rather than making your application stand out, the template will actually make you blend in with the rest of the applications. Creating a simple, clean, effective CV is definitely a better option…


Not Following Instructions

When an employer asks you to submit a cover letter which includes your salary expectations as part of your application, they do that for a reason. A cover letter can help an employer to get an insight into who you are as a person and why you’re interested in the role – and by expressing your salary expectations with your initial application, the employer can immediately see if the salary they’re offering would be realistic for you – something which will save everyone time in the long run.

By failing to follow simple instructions like this, you’re immediately putting your application on the back foot and immediately placing yourself lower than other candidates in the suitability pile, even if you’ve got better qualifications and are a better candidate overall. Seriously, it takes 30 minutes max to put a cover letter together… and it really could make all the difference!


Failing To Express Your Interest/Passion For That Particular Company In Your Cover Letter

When it comes to smallish companies (like Bubble Jobs) in the digital sector, personality-fit and knowledge of the company matters a lot – but a lot of graduates are still failing to convey this in their cover letter. Your cover letter is there to bridge the gap between your CV and the job advert so it’s the perfect place to show off how much research you’ve done in the company. For examples, writing “I’m really excited at the prospect of working for a mult-award winning job board like Bubble Jobs who are committed to raising awareness of careers in the digital sector” is going to impress an employer much more than just writing “I’m really excited at the prospect of working for your company”.


Copy & Paste Blunders

While we’d never advise you to just send the same cover letter and CV in for every application… we know a lot of you do… and that’s fine, but you need to be careful not to make it super-obvious. I’ve seen a lot of cover letters recently where it’s really obvious that the candidate has literally just pasted in the title of the job they’re applying for in their cover letter… but failed to even bother to ensure the font is the same typeface, size and colour as the rest of their document. Seriously, if you’re copying and pasting, just take two seconds to highlight the whole document and choose a consistent style before hitting ‘save’.


Not Using CV Space Wisely

Here at Bubble Jobs, we believe that a CV should be no longer than two sides of A4. That said; space is limited… but a lot of you still aren’t using this space wisely. For example, while it’s great that you’re part of a netball or badminton club, there’s no need to dedicate a whole paragraph to the topic. Why? Because that’s probably not going to help you get the job.

Limit paragraphs like that to one sentence – and use the space you’ve gained to explain how your existing skills/experience fit to the role you’re applying for – or include relevant stats for projects you’ve worked on in this space instead. OK, so you might think that you need to save this info for the interview… but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get to that stage if you don’t include at least some kind of relevant info on your CV.


So there you go; six key mistakes you need to avoid if you’re a graduate searching for your next job. Keep your eyes peeled for part two next week where I’ll be sharing even more of the top mistakes graduates make when applying for jobs.

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