11 Reasons Why Your Application Failed Before It Got Read!

Heed Our Advice To Ensure Your Job Application Is Successful 


As a recruiter, you’re always hoping the next application you read is “THE ONE”. Yet you can only make that judgement based on what the job seeker has presented you with. Their cover note. Their CV. Whatever it is they choose to bring to your attention.  You hope their application will show you everything you need to know about them prior to an interview.

In the first instance you need an exceptional CV, we’ve written a few blog posts on how you can create this. Believe me, it does show if you’ve not bothered to spend the time on your CV, so I thoroughly recommend you take the time to make it outstanding.

Making a Job Application isn't easy, so use these helpful tips to nail it!

The other thing which makes a difference is the cover note / letter, or accompanying email. You can tell which applicants are playing a numbers game; who are just sending their CV out to potentially thousands of employers / recruiters hoping that something will stick and they’ll get invited for an interview.

Instead, why not write a succinct but poignant cover note outlining the specific skills / strengths you bring with you or the achievements you’ve already made which are relevant to the job you are applying for.

Don’t be a generalist, don’t be wishy washy with what you tell us, be direct and showcase why, out of all the applicants we receive, you are right for the job and a perfect fit for that company.

What To Avoid Doing


There are many styles of applications which can turn the recruiter off before they’ve even opened the CV… Here’s the most recent Top 11 which we have witnessed:

  • Typos – You might be making tens, hundreds, or (hopefully not) thousands, of applications, but take the time to make each one of them accurate. This is particularly important if you are applying to a role which is not in your native language – please do ensure that your translations are correct; there are tools on the web which can help you do this, so there is no excuse. Nothing devalues an application more than typos in a cover note.
  • Mistaken Identity – Having just said nothing devalues an application more than typos… I was wrong. When making an application to a company you so desperately want to work for, don’t put the wrong company name on your application!
  • Wrong Job Title – Applying for a specific role? Don’t put the wrong job title.
  • Blank – Just sending a blank CV or Cover Letter doesn’t exactly capture our attention, although at least you haven’t devalued it with incorrect grammar, typos or text speak(!)
  • No Attachment – Falling at the first hurdle is the phrase, “find attached my CV…” and there is no CV. Admittedly it is an easy error to make and we have probably all done it, but it does bring into question your attention to detail.
  • No Contact Details – Believe it or not in this digital world, speaking with people is a great way to determine whether they are right for roles. On a number of occasions now we’ve had applications where we’ve had no contact details other than an email address. Not a great start for a dialogue. Supply a phone number!
  • Repeated Applications Despite Having Been Told – There are some people who either just don’t read, just don’t listen or just don’t care. We encourage ambition when job seeking, but if an applicant is applying for the wrong roles, we will tell them. On occasion we’ve seen an individual apply more than 20 times to the same job despite being politely told their skills were not appropriate. It tells me this individual is not reading the jobs nor applying any intelligence to their applications.
  • Attachment’s Name Gives The Game Away – If you’ve gotten so far as to write a cover note AND attach your CV, do check what the CV’s File Name is AND that it is ready for an employer to review. On so many occasions we get CVs sent to us which still have the tracked changes or are saved under a name prescribed for another company. Don’t fall at the last hurdle, you were almost there, so double check you’ve attached the right version of you CV (and what you titled it!).
  • “Spam” Style Applications – If you’re now treating your applications as a numbers game, speculatively sending the CV out to the world, be sure NOT to “CC” everyone whom you are sending it to. If you’re going to bulk send your CV, at least have the courtesy of “BCC’ing” it.
  • DuplicatesWe’ve been discussing this list among the team and ‘duplicates’ came up twice (ironically). It was noted duplication was obvious when a job seeker applied for the same role over and over and over again, but also when sending an application and the cover note was effectively cut & paste from the attached CV – why? It doesn’t achieve anything and, when sending a cover note, you’ve got a great opportunity to convey a poignant reason as to why you should be selected for the role, rather than just copying the CV which we’ll read anyway!
  • Text Speak A pet hate, which is becoming more and more common, is the use of text speak in a cover letter. Applications can be fun, but they should still be treated professionally; even in our world of digital and social media it is NOT acceptable to write in text speak. An extreme example would read something like this:

 Alright?  Im applying 4 the job I saw on ur FB. I think Iv gr8 skillz n am real hard working. Plz do consider me, CV is attached.  Speak l8rs.”

You’re making a professional application, don’t use colloquial language or text speak. It dumbs-down your application and leaves a recruiter / employer questioning your ability to write quality content, your grammar and your understanding of a professional environment.

Take the time to write it properly and then demonstrate your colloquial, social media skills when you’ve invited to.

Some Nuggets Of Advice From Recruitment Specialists


It’s happening all too often now and we’re sure there are many factors which influence how an application is made. clockworkTalent are specialists in the digital marketing industry, almost everything we do is online, making our office almost paperless. Our job board offers job seekers the ability to attach their CV’s.

We have unique job references for jobs seekers to quote when applying for specific roles, or if they would rather send a speculatively application they can use our general inbox, OR a recruiter’s personal email address, for instance mine is natasha@clockworktalent.com.

We receive many applications every day, some from people we’ve known for years, others are completely new to us. Avoiding these 11 clangers will help you get your application through to being considered. You don’t want to turn a recruiter off before you even get your CV read!

Chess Pieces to signify strategically making a job application

 

Even though everything regarding the application process is online, and practically instant, your applications should be considered and made cautiously. Our advice is to slow it down. Think before you push enter / send.

Double check what you’re written, who it is going to and what you’ve attached. Have you got the right name (if there is one), the right job reference (if there is one), the right version of your CV attached? Small details which can make the world of difference.

All too frequently the Digital Recruitment Consultants at clockworkTalent receive applications which almost mean nothing. They don’t grab our attention and it isn’t glaringly obvious why they’ve applied for the role or even how they could be appropriate.

Of course we do keep an open mind, envisaging ourselves in the person’s shoes BUT we’re not soothsayers… Our role is to find the best people for the job, we’ve not here to delve into your history to try and find the tiny relevant detail which might justify why you’ve applied for this job.

Tell us in your cover note! Show us in your CV! Highlight demonstrable experience which makes you right for the job!

Crème de la crème – The Digital Diamonds


In my career, I’ve seen some amazing applications, where you know within a second that this individual is going to get the job. One creative person had the industry knowledge to know who the employer was, took the time to video himself outside their office and “pretended” to experience what it would be like to be an employee of this company.

Some might think this a little odd, but they were applying for a creative role! This individual was able to demonstrate his skills and experience in the clip, his editing, campaign creation etc. He even accompanied it with an awesome cover note explaining why he was suitable for the job AND an industry standard CV.

He was not assumptive to think the employer would hire on the basis of his video alone, was prepared for the traditional interview selection format, but he also went that extra mile to demonstrate his creative ability. He refined his CV as to make it relevant and of particular interest to the company.

As you can imagine, he was invited to interview – which he had clearly prepared for, being well informed, articulate, presentable and, most importantly, himself. He was just a lovely, gregarious professional, bringing with him bundles of enthusiasm, skills and experience. An awesome – if somewhat extreme – example of a great application.

Chosen Candidate after applying for a job

Try and bear this in mind. These are the type of applications you could be up against. People make the effort to showcase their skills and go the extra mile. You don’t have to video yourself against the wall of every employer, but it would be good to at least make sure you’ve got the basics right – so there is nothing turning an employer off before you’ve even had your CV read.

Follow our advice, make each application count and get the invite to interview! (We’ve more wise words on the Do’s and Don’t’s for when you get to that stage!).


If you need our help with finding the perfect role in Digital Marketing, please do reach out to us! You can use either of the email addresses mentioned earlier or go through our Contact Form. Before you press send, don’t forget to double check everything!

Please do also follow our Social Media channels for the latest News and Jobs from Digital Marketing. You can find us across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+!

Natasha Woodford Signature for clockworkTalent's blogs.

Posted in Blog Posts, Job Seeking |

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