Common Mistakes with Paper Applications

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Getting away from computer applications can make the application process easier, but there are plenty of mistakes you can make that handicap your application before the employer has even seen it.

1 – Rushing Through It

There’s no timer on a paper application, so there’s no need to hurry.  If you hurry through an application your handwriting may be sloppy, and you might make spelling and/or grammatical errors.  If you rush it will show up in the quality of your work.  If you feel like it is sloppy and you’ve scribbled out a few answers, take the time to do it again, and if you’re not sure how to spell a word, look it up first.  Rushing tells the employer that getting the job wasn’t worth the time it would take to do it right.

2 – Not Following Directions

Read the directions before you jump in to filling in the blanks.  Some job applications are specifically designed to test how well you do at this.  If it says write the answers in blue or black ink and you only have a pencil, get a blue or black pen.  If it tells you to attach your resume, you probably won’t be considered if you miss that step.  It’s so important to do this right that they start teaching it in first grade!

3 – Leaving Questions Unanswered

Write something down for every question.  If the question doesn’t apply to you, write N/A.  Also don’t write “See Resume”.  Do not make the person reviewing your application do more work because you didn’t want to write an answer.

4 – Not Targeting Your Application

A job application is the place you want to sell yourself to the employer.  People don’t want to buy things that they don’t need.  If you’re applying to be an administrative assistant, you shouldn’t focus on how good you are as a cook.  If you have limited experience at the job you’re applying for, show how your work/life experiences provided you skills that you can use in their workplace.  Good attendance, working with other people, and good communication are three things that you will need to have at almost every job.


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