Graduate Blog

What We DON’T Want To See On Your Job Application


So, applying for a job is something (I hope) everyone has to go through. We all know how stressful it can be, sitting with your laptop on a mission to find that perfect role. Scouring the internet though every known job site, signing up with multiple recruitment agencies… but how would you feel if I told you that having a fresh, and perfect CV can certainly get you that bit further to employers calling you in for an interview?

Having seen a fair few applications myself with working at, I have seen many where I thought ‘WHY, why would you put that on your CV!?’

So here is my list of very important things NOT to send to your possible future employer.

A Bad Cover Letter

The first part of your email application that employers read is your cover letter; you need to make this stand out. In a good way!

You wouldn’t believe the amount of cover letters I have received that say ‘hi, I want a job’ or ‘hi, need job please’ or just don’t say anything at all. What a great way to impress someone… You’ve already short-listed yourself into the ‘this person definitely isn’t working here’ pile.

bad cv

Your cover letter is a vital factor in your application; this is why it comes before your CV as it demonstrates your writing skills more than your CV. It shows the employer that you have the right qualities for the role and adds that personal touch that your CV will lack. This is why ‘please see my CV attached in this’ isn’t quite enough!

Make sure you show you have a genuine interest in the company and how you feel you can add to their accomplishments and make a difference. However, employers on average spend about 10 seconds looking at your cover letter, so make it worthwhile and don’t waffle!

Unnecessary Information

Yes, that’s right; we don’t particularly want to know that you spent your summer on an alpaca farm, that you can do the alphabet backwards or that you got arrested in 1989 for indecent exposure.

If your cover letter is too long you can probably guarantee it isn’t even going to be read. I would say it should be around a paragraph long, nothing more, and nothing less. Save all your important employment information for your tidy CV, neatly outlining your key attributes and personal skills.

Spelling Mistakes

Spelling mistakes can stand out liek a sore thumb, (see what I did there?) Be sure to check your text! Again, and again… and again, just for luck. Don’t rely solely on spell checker, it sounds ridiculous but check that you have spelled the company name correctly, and more importantly the person you are sending it to. I have had many emails along the lines of ‘Hi Sarah’ or ‘Dear Davina.’ My name is SAMANTHA, was that not clear from my email address?

Common CV Mistakes

So you made your email address when you were 12, but now at the age of 21 I don’t think that ‘’ is quite appropriate for that mortgage adviser role is it? Something simple such as ‘’ would look much more professional on your job application.

Breaking the 2-page-rule – employers are very busy people and they will not have time to read every tiny aspect of your career. Make each section stand out clearly enough for them to read, bullet point your skills and leave plenty of white space. Remember less is often more!

Quite often candidates place incorrect contact information on their CV’s, please don’t let this be you! Double check you have typed you home and mobile numbers correctly, that your .com isn’t actually a, and that your address isn’t still that little flat you lived in last year.

List your achievements not your duties. Don’t copy and paste desired tasks from your job description, have a good think about how you benefitted the company and highlight those qualities! Anyone can write ‘organised files for photocopying.’ What new skills did you add? Any successful campaigns? Increased sales?

Now you know what to look out for, go a re-write your CV, put together a cracking cover letter, wow the employers and get that new job!


About the Author

Samantha Dunbar Samantha Dunbar

My name is Samantha, I have been working at since January 2013. I run the day to day management of this blog :) If you need to contact me my email address is

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