5 common mistakes to avoid when making an application….

dsc010131Whatever opportunity you are planning to enter into after your studies, it is likely that you will have to write an application to access it.  Writing successful applications is an art and one that you can  easily develop as part of your professional practice.

With competition in the graduate market at an all time high, it is important that this aspect of  your professional practice is well established and that you have confidence in your application strategy to ensure that you successfully access your dream career.

Need some advice on how to  make great applications, why not see GSA Careers ‘3 top tips for applications’: https://gsacareers.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/3-top-tips-for-writing-successful-job-applications/ and Writing CV and Applications  https://gsacareers.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/writing-a-cv-or-application/

Unfortunately, not all  graduates or opportunity seekers  get their application approaches right and often find themselves being regularly turned down for opportunities. Being repeatedly rejected is not only very frustrating and demotivating, it can seriously damage  your confidence too. So,  when you are making an application,  ensure that your application approach is the best that it can be and one which avoids common mistakes.

Not sure what the mistakes are?

Here are 5 of the most common mistakes that applicants make and some guidance on how to avoid them.

1. Not doing  enough research….. this is the most common reason why an application will be rejected.  If you haven’t done your research, it is unlikely that you will be able to reflect back to the opportunity provider what they are looking for. The other problem with not doing enough research is that it makes your job as an applicant even harder. Why guess? Undertake loads of research, become familiar with the role /opportunity requirements and the organisation/sector you are apply to.   Why not see  GSA Careers’What is the top graduate attribute that employers look for , for some guidance on researching employers’:https://gsacareers.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/what-is-the-top-graduate-attribute-employers-look-for/

2. Not demonstrating that you understand the skills and experience required…. Having loads to tell an opportunity provider about how great you are is fantastic, but forgetting  to tell them how you match to their opportunity is a big mistake. Opportunity providers wont ‘read through’ your application and make assumptions….for example; I have never heard of an employer go…’ the applicant really meant this …. when they wrote that….’  Be really clear about what it is you want to tell the opportunity provider about. And dont forget to include details of you, your experiences and skills that directly match the opportunity on offer.  See how to match skills to opportunities at Prospects: http://www.prospects.ac.uk/applying_for_jobs_what_skills_do_employers_want.htm

3. Forgetting to back  up your points with great evidence.- evidence is always king!  It is not enough just to tell and opportunity provider about your skills – you need to back it up with actual examples from your work /experience history.  Consider how your experience matches the opportunity providers wants and think transferable skills….. .http://www.jobs.ac.uk/careers-advice/interview-tips/962/transferable-skills-the-secret-of-success.

Not sure you have got enough to evidence and need to develop your experience? Why not come along the the GSA Career service session ‘Finding your Placement’ Wednesday 30th October 2013 4-5pm Bourdon Lecture Theatre and find out how you an establish your experience.

4. Using jargon  and abbreviations.– it can be incredibly annoying reading an application that is full of abbreviations and jargon. Don’t assume that everyone will know what your abbreviations mean, write everything out in full to avoid confusion and avoid jargon unless you are sure (through great research) that the opportunity provider will understand it. Write in positive concise language ( are you using Power words? http://www.careerealism.com/top-resume-words/ ) and don’t forget to reflect the tone and language that your opportunity provider uses. Finally, always get your application checked by an objective friend!

5. Being careless.- Be honest how often have you left an application to the last minute and dashed something off in the hope that it will do? Leaving writing your application to the last minute is a big no no,  as it means that you wont have time to reflect, check and enhance it before you submit it.  Create a plan for your application  and include; drafting stages (most applications will take several drafts), checking /reviewing time and a deadline that is well before the actual deadline. Also get your application in early,  as it will demonstrate that you are motivated and keen and will help your application stand out from the rest.

By making sure that you avoid these pitfalls within your application strategy , you will help yourself  develop excellent application practice and be more successful with your approaches.  Good luck!

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