Applying for a job for the first time can be unnerving and mistakes are bound to happen. Here are some of the most common mistakes we see that you can easily change!

We know that when you apply for your first job, it can be a little bit weird and everyone is going to make the odd mistake. However, these mistakes don’t have to happen and some of them are so easy to avoid and could be the difference between you getting your dream job or not hearing anything from your potential employer at all!

We’ve put together seven of the most common mistakes that we see in our job applications so you know what to avoid to make the best application you can!

1. You’re treating each application the same

Even if it’s your tenth application, you need to remember that each job you’re applying to is different. We often see applications or CVs that have reference to a different job or a different employer rather than the one your applying to, and this is a complete turn-off for a recruiter!

Make sure that you tailor each application you make to the job that you’re applying to. This means that you might change your cover letter or CV slightly, so it fits the job title and employer. This shows attention to detail, but it also shows that you are really making an effort to impress! If this is a little bit too much for you, take out reference to a specific job or employer. Instead you can mention the industry that you want to go into.

2. Mistakes throughout your CV

One of the biggest things that frustrates recruiters is mistakes in your CV, and you’ve probably heard it a million times! Every day, recruiters look through lots of CV’s and if yours is full of spelling mistakes, it’s not going to make a very good impression. You can get a friend of family member to have a quick read through and just check there are no glaringly obvious mistakes. If the idea of someone you know reading your CV makes the hairs on the back of your neck stick up, try something online like Grammarly or spellcheck.

Mistakes also apply to your contact information - check that everything is correct. If you’ve put the email on your CV incorrectly a recruiter might be trying to get in touch, but you wouldn’t know!

3. Too many clichés or buzzwords

It might sound great when you’re writing your CV or filling out an application form but try and avoid clichés or buzzwords. You might think it’s great to be an “enthusiastic team player with a passion for marketing” but really it makes you sound exactly like thousands of other people across the UK. Although these kinds of phrases might make you think you’re standing out, it actually only makes you blend in.

One of the best ways to still impress is by using examples in your CV. If you want to show that you’re a team player, write on your CV that you enjoy team sports and get involved with lots of colleagues inside and outside of work.

4. Applying for something you don’t really want to do

We understand that sometimes you just need a job and you might just apply to the ones nearest to you, but don’t apply to things you’re not even interested in. There have been occasions where we’ve had candidates that would be ideal for an engineering apprenticeship apply for an apprenticeship in catering. If you want to change industries this is fine (just say on your CV), there have been numerous times we’ve called candidates and they’re no longer interested.

This might frustrate the recruiter, but it might also put you at a disadvantage for other opportunities. You should always apply for opportunities that you could see yourself doing, so that if you’re contacted about them you can show your enthusiasm right from the start.

5. Not filing out the job application form in enough detail

We know it can be frustrating when you’re faced with yet another application form for a different job but take it just as seriously as you did when you filled in your first one. Often employers read your application before looking at your CV to see if you’re suitable for a job – this is often the case for big employers. Essentially, you could be the perfect fit for a role but because you left some questions blank, an employer might never get the chance to speak with you.

Make sure, when you fill it out, you think about each question and try to relate it to your skills, ensuring that you match the job requirements. Don’t forget, they’re not expecting you to know everything, but a passion for the industry will go a long way!

6. Lying to appear more experienced

If you’re applying for an apprenticeship or even a graduate job, employers won’t expect you to have a lot of experience. If you have got experience, definitely talk about it, but don’t worry about it if you haven’t. Sometimes you might lie, and it won’t seem like a big deal, but you could get into a lot of trouble if you pretend you’ve done something that you haven’t actually done, and it’ll only come back to bite you!

Everything you talk about on your CV should be something you’ve actually done. Sometimes, employers ask for evidence or examples of your work, so make sure you have it ready! This is also a great tip for interviews, particularly for industries such as graphic design; employers love to see what you can actually do.

7. You expect to be given the job

Not everyone will expect to get a job but remember that even if you’re offered an interview you still need to impress the employer enough to get an offer. Often, employers interview a number of people, so when you’re in an interview you need to impress even more than you did in your CV. Show the employer that you are capable of the requirements for the job you’re applying to.

Unfortunately, more often we’re finding that some candidates expect to be offered a job and are angry if they’re not. If you have been unsuccessful remember to be polite. Recruiters will often get in touch with you if they have a similar opportunity near your location which may actually be better suited to you!

Advice & Tips Apprenticeships