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Leeds Metropolitan University
Making effective applications for Jobs
Checking your application form
Employers estimate up to 70% of application forms they receive have basic spelling and grammatical errors on them. It is difficult to believe someone has “good attention to detail/ great organisational skills/ brilliant communication skills” if they fail to correct these type of errors.
It is important to note online application forms do not have built in spell checks! Cutting and pasting your application answers into a Word document means you can run a spell-check. However spelling and grammar checks are only the first tool in proof reading, but they are not failsafe. You should carefully check and recheck before sending, and get as many other people to look through for you as well. The careers service offers drop in sessions where experienced careers advisers will look over your applications.
Having someone else look at your application can also help you to identify any areas where you can be misconstrued. These following passages all come from real application forms. What do you think about the language they have used?
Did you spot?
- I found that teaching English overseas, although very hard work, was both educational and fun. I enjoyed my time abroad greatly and met a lot of different people from a variety of countries and backgrounds. The experience taught me how to deal with people from other cultures.
- As a hotel receptionist I developed inter-personal skills which I felt were a little weak previously, especially the confidence to deal with different people. I often felt shy before, but now I can talk to anyone.
- Working behind bar's has taught me how to deal tactfully with people, people, especially difficult people. It also showed me the importance of working as part of a team – the ‘hand over’ from one shift too another.
- I have enjoyed my final year project, although it has taken a lot of time. It has provided mental challenge and given me a sense of personal achievement.
- “Dealing with people from other cultures.” This phrasing may reveal this person has an underlying belief that other people have to be “dealt with” as though they are a problem, or it may simply be a bad choice of phrase.
- This student needs to delete the negative comments "skills … were a little weak" and "often felt shy" even though the passage indicates they have been overcome. As it stands, the statement does not suggest a high level of inter-personal skills, only an improvement.
- The many errors? There was a typo: the word "people" was repeated, there was an apostrophe used in bars - none should be there - and the word to was mispelled in the last line: it should have been to, not too.
- This student didn't tell us anything! Who doesn't find their final year project a mental challenge? Do we know anymore about this person’s suitability to do the job?