Generation Y’s Job-Hunting Mistakes

If you were born between 1980 and 1992, you are part of the so-called Generation Y, just like me. Our generation is an interesting one as we are the last one to have grown up (for the most part) without the internet and all that came along with it, such as e-mails, smartphones, social media and so on. However, when the world wide web took over, we were young enough to quickly learn everything about it and grow with it, and now we can’t imagine life without it.

RELATED: 5 Tips To Help You Get That Job

The internet undoubtedly changed everything, including how we apply for jobs. While our parents would have written formal cover letters and (rather short) resumes, which were then posted to the potential employer, nowadays, we e-mail applications. And that is where the job-hunting problems of generation Y start. As e-mails are generally less formal than letters, it seems as though most 20-somethings have no clue about the basics of a job application. The following are common mistakes that I have encountered and how to avoid them:

Use an appropriate e-mail address.

If your e-mail address is, I can guarantee you that it will be deleted immediately. In order for your possible future employer to even read your application, your e-mail address must not contain any nickname/animal/song title or other weird things. In fact, the only really professional e-mail address is a variety of your name, whether that’s your full name or a combination of your initials and name does not matter, as long as it isn’t too complicated.

Spell check.

This is pretty self-explanatory. Check your spelling and grammar before you send off an application. Also, make sure your layout and font are consistent – typos in your application will make your employer think that you have no attention to detail.

Be polite.

Simple manners will go a long way. Use a proper salutation and closing in your e-mail and avoid slang. Thank the addressee for their time – if you fail to show respect in your application, chances are you will do the same at work.

Tidy up your social media accounts.

It is common practice for employers nowadays to check applicants’ social media accounts. So if your profile picture is a selfie of you in your most revealing party outfit, it’s not a good first impression. The same goes with what you write and share. The general rule is: If you wouldn’t want your boss to see it, don’t share it on social media. Better safe than sorry.

Expert Advice On How To Get The Job You Deserve

If you are serious about getting a job I can help. I’ve sat on the other side of that hiring table and know exactly what employers are looking for. Plus, having a degree in Behavioural Science and a Diploma of Human Resource Management gives me additional knowledge to help people get jobs. After seeing the job applications people submit, it’s no wonder some remain unemployed or in substandard positions.

RELATED: 6 Resume Writing Tips That Will Give You An Edge

There are plenty of qualified and experienced people out there who expect their credentials to speak for themselves. Trust me, they don’t! Unless you get work through someone you know, landing a job all comes down to the quality of your job application and employment documents.

Recently I began writing professional employment documents like resumes and cover letters. Unlike job networks which rely on people remaining unemployed, I want clients to land the type of job they deserve. I worked for one of these places and lasted less than two months. It was horrible!

So let me get on with the advice: Employers receive plenty of job applications when they advertise a position. They sort them according to how interested they are in hiring you and if your application doesn’t appeal initially, you’ll rarely get a second opportunity to impress them.

What are employers looking for?

Knowing what a potential employer is looking for is vital. It’s not just the information on the page either – there is a lot implied between the lines that potential employers and HR staff search for. This includes:

Is the job important to you?
Have you spent time on your application?
Have you done your homework and know what the job and company are about?
Do you take pride in your work?
Can you meet deadlines?
Can you communicate effectively?
What sort of personality do you have?
Do you have the skills they need?
What sort of experience do you have?
Who can they contact to confirm your claims?

When people submit ten job applications in a day with generic resumes and cover letters, employers recognise it. It doesn’t tell them that you are passionate about working for them, so you will be instantly overlooked. Instead, spend time on job applications and approach each one like you would an interview to get the best results.

The aim of your job application is:

  1. To get you noticed and entice employers to hire you.
  2. Give employers all the information they want in the most effective way possible.

How to get your job application noticed

Submitting a high quality job application is the ONLY way to get noticed. Follow these tips and you will be well on your way.

  1. Documents need be well formatted, well written, without errors and easy to read. When employers look your job application over a second, third and fourth time they will be comparing it to others. If it’s substandard, you and your documents will be cast aside.
  2. Keep documents brief, precise and accurate, but don’t skimp on information. You need to include your qualifications, the skills you have and your previous experience. Resumes produced via instruction of job networks often lack the detail required to secure a job. Remember, their job relies on you not having one!
  3. As a guide if you’ve held several positions and have various qualifications, a resume under 3-4 pages won’t have enough detail.  Your cover letter should be about 1-2 pages, depending on your experience. Key election criteria can vary, but 75-150 words per response should be your aim.
  4. Add some personality and human qualities to your resume and cover letter. This can be done via formatting, backgrounds, images and wording. Tell the employer what sort of person and employee you are. Let them know your most desirable qualities and persuade them to hire you.

Look at your documents objectively and think to yourself, have you told them everything they should know? Has it been presented with effort, care and pride? If you were to compare it to others with similar qualifications and experience, how does it compare? Most importantly, would you hire you? If you aren’t happy with how this initial representation of yourself is portrayed, it will need work. Either do it yourself or hire someone who does it professionally.

One vital tip: If you get employment documents done professionally, make sure they can be self edited! I can’t stress this enough. This can potentially save you a significant amount of money and plenty of grief. Check out the following examples of successful employment documents:

Click here for a resume example

Click here for a cover letter example

Click here for an example of a successful Key Selection Criteria

How to give employers all the information they want

Use the list above which outlines what your resume will tell employers. For example; let them know this job is important to you by spending time on the application, make the resume relevant to the company and position, use keywords mentioned in their mission statements and always get your application in on time. If you can’t submit it in time, be pro-active and contact them to negotiate a deadline.

Also, each industry has keywords you’ll need to include in your resume and cover letter. For example, in the construction industry ‘safety’ and ‘standards’ are primary keywords to include. If it’s the community service sector, use words like non-judgmental, empathy, diversity and tolerance.

What NOT to include in your resume

Lastly, it’s all well and good knowing what to include but you also need to know what to exclude. I recently rewrote a cover letter which highlighted the persons inadequacies instead of focusing on their strengths. Remember to include ONLY information which tells the employer why they should hire you. It’s best to exclude anything which presents you negatively. You’ll have enough competition without taking yourself out of contention!

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How To Make A ‘Good’ Resume A ‘Great’ Resume

A great resume is the difference between getting lost in the shuffle or getting called back for an interview. An effective resume should not just be a summary of job descriptions. Instead, a summary of accomplishments and the quantification of your contributions is much more effective at attracting the attention of the hiring manager. Follow these tips for creating a strong resume.


One of the first aspects of your resume that gets noticed by employers is the specific format the resume is written in. Several types of resumes are used and each type is effective for a specific type of job. Personal circumstances may dictate the need for a functional, targeted, chronological, or combination resume. The font you choose is also important. Simpler fonts are less strenuous on the eye and employers would much rather scan through a resume with simple lettering as opposed to elegant, over-the-top font.


Most job seekers apply to more than one position at a time. In fact, job searching is essentially a numbers game similar to the national lottery. You are competing with hundreds of candidates, so it is important to make sure you invest enough time in your resume. Template resumes are efficient and save a significant amount of time. However, submitting the exact same resume to each employer is counterintuitive. Each job has a specific set of skills that make the ideal candidate. For example, some of the skills needed to secure a writing job will not exactly match up to the skills of a sales or marketing position. Because of this, it is important to personalise the resume for the specific job being applied for. Each career summary or objective should be different for each job. In addition to this, it is important to include a cover letter proving your worth to a potential employer. Many job seekers overlook and ignore this step on how to get a job and waste valuable time applying for jobs that never receive further consideration from employers.


Employers these days electronically screen for specific keywords in order to eliminate and disqualify certain candidates. For example, a job may require a bachelor’s degree of specific skills in order to be considered for the position. Research industry keywords like “search engine optimisation” and “interpersonal skills” in order to bypass the initial screening process.


Include the previous ten years of your career. Most employers and hiring managers scan through resumes, so the first 30 seconds is the most critical as most employers will make a subconscious decision after seeing your resume for the first time. Because of this, the first few inches of the first page is the most important part of your resume. You should capture your employers interest by listing your most relevant and outstanding accomplishments first. Senior level executives may list their most recent contributions to their industry while recent college graduates list their educational background as well as their volunteer experience.

It is absolutely paramount that you include you most relevant and important accomplishments and cater your resume for the specific job being applied for. After effective networking, an exceptional resume is your next step towards your dream job.

6 Resume Writing Tips That Will Give You An Edge

Everyone knows that as job markets are growing more competitive these days, it’s getting harder to get your foot in the door – even for an interview. Instead of getting frustrated, it’s important not to give up, but to use this difficulty as a chance to improve and challenge yourself! How to find a job? And furthermore, how to get that job? Create a killer resume. Interviewers and HR managers are getting wise to the fact that interviews just don’t give a good enough portrait of a potential hire. You will be fact checked, so no lying! Here are 6 tips that just might give you a chance to interview for that dream job:

The basics

  • Keep your name and contact info (phone number, email address, street address) at the top of your resume
  • Keep your resume simple, clear and concise. Limit yourself to 2-3 pages
  • For references, either give 2-3 names and their contact info, or type in “References to be provided upon request”
  • Don’t give your date of birth (unless it’s an advantage for you to keep it on)

Include facts and figures

You can’t “fluff” up your resume with descriptions of what your job responsibilities were in your previous job. The writing is uninspiring, and there isn’t any guarantee that you did any of it well. The answer? Fill your resume with measurable results – percentages, numbers of people, feedback that you received, and so on. The more specific you can be, the better it looks to a good recruiter or interviewer.

Show something unique about yourself

Even if you do fill your resume with applicable skills and a solid performance record, that will only put you at an even level with the other qualified applicants hoping for this job. What you need to do is show something unique or unusual about yourself. What separates you from the rest of the people applying for the position? Maybe you’ve been keeping a blog and have a regular following? That shows energy, dedication, and hopefully good writing. If you need a boost in your resume, start with your current job; ask your supervisor for more responsibilities and then put them on your resume.

Do your research

Make sure you know what you are applying for. You must customise your resume for the job that you are applying to. It is imperative that you do not send out a “standard” resume that just showcase your skills and experience. All modern resumes have to be tailored to the job and company that you are applying to. Additionally there out to be an objective or purpose statement that shows why you want to work at that company, and what you hope to accomplish there.

Include key words (Resume SEO)

For very popular jobs and larger companies, there isn’t even a guarantee that your resume will be seen by a real person anymore. A lot of companies use computer programs that will automatically scan your resume for key words (don’t worry about density, mentioning something once will get you tagged), and will pass your resume along to a live person if your resume has certain key words. If you are wondering what key words to use, just look at the job description and make sure those are the words that are in your resume.

Spell check

This hasn’t changed. You still need to spell check, and you shouldn’t trust your computer to do it for you. Best advice would be to print it out and look it over on paper.

How to Stand Out When Applying for a Job

Thanks to an unstable job market, for every job out there, you’ll be in a race against dozens of others competing for the same job. These days it’s not enough just to send over your resume, consider these tips to help you stand out from the rest.

Tailor the resume to the job

When applying for a job, be sure to tailor the resume to the job description. It’s worth spending time analysing each job description and personalising your experience to what they’re looking for. A few small tweaks to the resume with every new application will help the resume to match the application. Without this editing, the resume will look like an afterthought.

Send a cover letter

Most job ads still require a cover letter, and even if they don’t, it’s always a good idea to include one in your application. It shows you’ve tailored the application to this job, and offers an insight into who you are as a person. This is your chance to rise above the facts and figures of your resume.

Interview as if you’re at lunch

Going to an interview completely stiff is not the way to get a job. Anyone who knows how to get a job knows that managers want to talk to real people in an interview. Giving robotic answers and trying to say only what the manager wants to hear does not make the applicant look like a quality candidate. Be smart. Be open. Be funny. Be yourself in an interview. When the manager feels like they are talking to someone they could work with, the tide will turn in your favour.

Have references ready

Ah, “references available on request.” Make sure you have references ready if the HR manager asks for them. Send a polite email to your previous employers mentioning that you are applying for work and could you use them as a reference. This will save you time and push you to the front of the shortlist.

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