Banishing faux pas

PUBLISHED: 13:42 07 July 2006 | UPDATED: 10:25 06 May 2010

PICTURE this: You ve spotted a great job in the situations vacant columns of the paper, but the deadline for applications is looming. You rapidly rush off a copy of your CV and a covering letter and get your application in the post or sent off via email.

PICTURE this: You've spotted a great job in the situations vacant columns of the paper, but the deadline for applications is looming.

You rapidly rush off a copy of your CV and a covering letter and get your application in the post or sent off via email. But in your haste you haven't had the time to sit down and read over your request for employment, let alone ask someone else to take a look.

However sparkling your application and however relevant your experience, a spelling mistake here and a typing error there can wreck your chances and create totally the wrong impression.

Worse still, your application can end up telling a potential employer much more about you than you originally intended.

The following are genuine examples of how badly things can go when you don't at least read through that job application before firing it off.

# I demand a salary commiserate with my experience.

# I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0 computor and spreasheet progroms.

# I received a plague for Salesperson of the Year.

# I was instrumental in ruining an entire operation for a chainstore.

# I am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.

These glaring errors illustrate that you can't leave anything to chance. Most employers, faced with a raft of promising candidates, will see this type of error as proof that the applicant isn't suitable, especially in a job where attention to detail is important.

What will happen to these sort of applications is this: the employer will read them, sigh then chuckle, show it to some colleagues, then throw it in the bin. It's as simple as that.

You would think that in the age of personal computers, equipped as they are with spell checkers, we would have seen the end of these howlers. You'd be wrong.

While spell checkers pick up on some errors, they miss others and in the end there's no substitute for just sitting down and reading through the application.

In fact, you're more likely to pick up on any mistakes if you go and do something else for half an hour and come back to your job application. Better still - get a friend to look at it.

Of course, there are other ways to let yourself down in a job application, whether it is on a CV or on an application form.

One of the most common ways is the use of unintentional humour, where you try to be witty and just end up looking ridiculous, as the following howlers go to show.

# Reason for leaving last job: Maturity leave.

# References: None. I have left a path of destruction behind me.

# Marital status: Often. Children: Various.

# I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse.

# Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions.

'Fail' is a word that shouldn't be used on an application at any cost. But the last examples here all seem to have the knack of saying too much, where saying nothing may have been a better idea.

# Failed bar exam with relatively high grades.

# The company made me a scapegoat, just like my three previous employers.

# Note: Please don't misconstrue my 14 jobs as 'job-hopping'. I have never quit a job.

# It's best for employers that I do not work with people.

# I procrastinate, especially when the task is unpleasant.

The moral here must be pretty obvious by now. Check what you write, keep it simple and don't try to be cute - it won't work.


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