3 Common Job Application Mistakes New Grads Make

Last Updated on November 18, 2022

When applying for a job, it’s important to make sure that you make the best impression possible. If you get an interview, you’ll have the chance to really impress your employer, but when you first start the process with an application or a resume, you should concentrate on avoiding some common mistakes.

No matter how good of a writer you think you are, make sure to check for these things several times before you submit your application.

Bad Spelling and Grammar

The first common mistake that will immediately get you knocked out of the “for consideration” pile is bad spelling.

Don’t think that the “Check Spelling” function on your computer will solve all of your spelling problems. Regardless of your spelling ability, it’s crucial that you double- and triple-check your work to make sure that you’ve spelled everything correctly. Then have someone else (or two other people) check it.

This is important when checking for any sort of error, but it’s especially good for spelling. It’s the same with grammar—make sure all of your sentences make sense, that they sound good, and that they don’t have any glaring grammatical errors (this is often easier said than done if you haven’t studied grammar or English very much).

Application Misunderstanding

Another mistake that is fairly common is understating your application. The point of applying for a job is to impress your employer with your education, experience, enthusiasm, and other qualifications for the job.

Don’t tell your potential employer what you’re lacking, tell them what you excel in.

If you’re applying for an on-campus library attendant job, don’t emphasize your lack of experience with library technologies—make it a point to say that you have learned great customer service through waitressing for three years, and that you handle people very well.

It’s all about situating your strengths and weaknesses so that you look like you’ll be able to handle all of the responsibilities of the job.

Ignore/Misread the Instruction

Before you worry about either of the preceding mistakes, though, you need to make sure that you’ve carefully read the directions on the application (or job posting).

  • If you’re asked for a resume, send a resume.
  • If you’re asked for an essay detailing your experience and what you hope to get from the job, then send an essay.

If you ignore or misread the directions on a job application, your potential employer will have very little faith in your ability to follow his or her directions when you’re working.


There are many mistakes that you can make on a job application in addition to the above three. But most of them can be caught and remedied with a simple looking-over by one or two people. Spend some time writing a quality application and resume, and you’ll be well on your way to landing a great job!

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