Silly mistakes that sink job applicants

07/18/2014 1:00 AM

07/17/2014 11:20 PM

Some employers won’t care — or won’t catch them — but mistakes in word usage can put your application in the reject pile.

I recently heard from a hirer in a Kansas City suburb who collected a list of errors that job applicants made when they responded to a job posting.

To be fair, the job wasn’t a white-collar professional position, and it paid just $8.50 an hour. But it was for office work, which presumed some competence in the English language.

How much confidence would you have in the applicant described as a “detailed, oriented person”? Or the one who had an “inginuitive attitude”? Or the one who listed “punctuation” as a skill (punctuality, perhaps)?

One applicant promised “referees” on request. Another listed past “dates of empowerment.” And one job seeker said she previously ranked high in her “weekly assments” the “hole” time she was there.

The employer also looked askance at the “resumeforanything” file from a job hunter who clearly hadn’t tailored the application to the job at hand. Similarly, thumbs down to the applicant who wrote, “Objective: To obtain a job within the company I’m applying.”

One resume included “UNEMPLOYED” in bold capital letters each time there was a gap in work history. Another included a cover letter dated months earlier.

Just how eager some people were to be hired was also in question. One prominently stated that she’d recently become pregnant. Another’s motivation was that “I’m ready to learn more stuff.” And then there was the applicant who sent an email that said the company was expecting a lot for small pay.

The latter may have an element of truth. Job hunters must decide for themselves if the duties and pay are right for them. Some jobs simply won’t be worth pursuing. But if you do want the job, be careful and thoughtful with your application.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to Follow her online at and on Twitter @KCStarStafford.

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