Imagine you are Mr Fizz, The HR Director at Coca-Cola, reading applications for a Marketing Assistant.

Dear Mr Fizz, I’d like to apply for a job with Pepsi…

And in the first sentence, that applicant has blown their chances of a really cool job! This example came from an actual Wellington employer during graduate recruitment – a student was obviously applying to more than one firm at a time and hadn’t bothered to proof read their application, or change their letter for different employers.

We’ve said it before and I’m saying it again – mistakes like the above in cover letters and CVs are inexcusable and your application will most likely end up in the reject pile even if you’re a straight A student. The most common complaint we receive from employers is that students are not checking spelling and grammar. This is very important and demonstrates that you take pride in your work, pay attention to detail and are able to write clearly and persuasively.

Many employers tell us that applications from Victoria students and graduates are at a higher level or on a par with other universities. However, it is important to maintain this standard and in some areas students continue to let themselves down.

To make your application more effective, employers suggest Vic students pay attention to the following:

  • Spelling and grammar
  • Proof reading
  • Answer questions concisely and succinctly
  • Allow enough time to complete the application before the closing time
  • Summarise key strengths up front

It pays to get your CV and cover letter checked prior to sending. It’s really easy and takes just 15 minutes – come to Vic Careers Drop-in (see times on CareerHub), or if you’re not quite at the checking stage, attend one of our CV workshops. There’s plenty of information, tips and sample CVs on CareerHub too.

Check out this article by Leon Gettler that has some excellent advice plus some classic CV Bloopers:

The Ask Annie column at Fortune presents a list of the biggest resume blunders, and they are beauties. They include the candidate who attached a letter from her mother, the one who used pale blue paper with teddy bears around the border, and the one who explained a three-month gap in employment by saying it was because he was getting over the death of his cat.

Make sure a prospective employer remembers you, not your mistakes!

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Advice, CVs, Job application


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