Last month I waded through 400+ applications for a new Resume Writer position that we had available.

It was a reality check on what most hiring managers go through these days. I must confess, I was very frustrated at what the majority of applicants were submitting – and the way they went about it. Not frustration for me – but frustration that the applicant was doing themselves an injustice. All I could think was “No wonder these people don’t get an interview.”  I know that sounds harsh.  But it’s true.  Mediocrity was the order of the day.  Not a very good signal that an applicant is sending me.

When you submit an application you should be looking at everything from the employer’s point of view.  Is the application tailored?  Are there any mistakes?  Have you followed their instructions in the job advert?  Do you demonstrate a genuine desire to work for that company?  Does your application jump out and scream “Hey, I’m passionate about this type of work!” What makes you better than everyone else?

So what signals did I receive from applicants?

  • Lack of attention to detail.
  • Couldn’t follow instructions.
  • Informal application.
  • Not interested in the primary objective of the role.
  • Not interested in the work, full stop!
  • Couldn’t take the time to find out more – no research skills.
  • Only want the position until something else comes along.
  • Couldn’t string two words together (ha! This was a writer’s position!)
  • And the list goes on.


Here’s some things which really bugged me – or things which jumped out at me as a no-no when submitting a formal application. There’s some great tips here for you:


  • I was addressed as “Dear”.  I’m not their loved one.
  • I was addressed as Sir / Madam.  The advert clearly stated who the application should be addressed to.
  • I was addressed as Sir. Tara is a female name, not male. It shows a lazy approach when someone cannot even search online and take 2 minutes to find out what it is.
  • I was addressed as “Tara”.  It’s a formal application and should be treated as such.  They don’t know me personally.  This may seem a little fuddy duddy; but at the end of the day, you are presenting yourself for future employment, not to make friends – formal is best.
  • Spelling mistakes.  Did the person even read the application before submitting it?  Or indeed, put it through a spell checker?  Silly mistakes which would have been picked up if it had.
  • Poor punctuation – actually, very poor. Commas in the wrong spot or none at all, and so on.
  • Receiving cover letters that said something like “… apply for the position of Data Entry Operator”.  Hello?!  Hmmm.  The role was advertised as Resume Writer / Admin Support.
  • Receiving applications where the applicant had quite obviously not taken the time to read the position description. Their application was geared toward an entirely different role – a classic was one that was tailored for a help desk position!
  • Not following instructions.  Applicants blindly buzzed off their resume and that was it. I asked for a completed application form, cover letter, resume, and statement addressing selection criteria. Around 80% didn’t submit a completed application form and the majority didn’t bother taking the time to read the instructions about selection criteria and submit what was requested.
  • Receiving applications that couldn’t even be opened.
  • After emailing applicants to acknowledge receipt of their application, I received a ton of bounced messages. Goodness gracious… too bad if you were being contacted by email for an interview – you missed out! I hear job seekers complaining all the time about employers not acknowledging receipt of their job application. Hmmm. I wonder why.

Ok – I will stop. You get the picture 🙂

Don’t jeopardise your chances of gaining an interview!  Job hunting, or applying for jobs, isn’t something you should be doing in 5 minutes flat with no thought whatsoever.  If you take the time to apply for roles which genuinely interest you, and ensure you tailor your application and demonstrate your passion, then you WILL gain more interviews.

Want to blow away your competition and put yourself ahead of the pack? Check out our interview-winning resume writing service.