How poor attention to detail can cost you your dream job

Rachel Perkins
By: Rachel Perkins
Categories: Job Search Resumes

Many job descriptions you read today will include attention to detail as a key selection criteria point or favoured quality important in an employee. Attention to detail relates to a thoroughness and level of accuracy when we approach and manage a task. Getting things right is critical to performing well in so many professions and in some occupations there is simply no room for error. There is no surprise to see this phrase coming up in job ads, position outlines or during the interview process. Our consultants regularly ask mums to provide examples demonstrating attention to detail in previous positions held or where this was critical to their position or task. Whilst it is all good and well being able to reply with impressive work examples and telling the interviewer that you check and double check your work, the reality is that many applicants will simply not make it to interview. Why? Because their poor attention to detail when completing their job application has severed their chances of progressing through the recruitment stages. In a competitive job market and where we receive high numbers of applications for our roles there is no room for sloppiness when it comes to applying for a job. A careless mistake can and will cost you your dream job.

Many will read this and think it is common sense to proofread an application or check for accuracy before you hit send however we’re constantly surprised and disappointed with some of the applications we receive. Here are some of the common mistakes we have seen on recent job applications submitted into our team and we hope that by sharing these, we may stop you from making a similar mistake next time you submit an application.

Addressing your application to the wrong person or even company

If you have a contact name ensure you address your application to that person. We have seen cover letters addressed to different people and even different companies which doesn’t create a good first impression.

Failing to follow the application requirements

A job ad may request you provide a cover letter, respond to key selection criteria or ask that you submit your application via their careers website. Be respectful of the recruitment process and ensure you follow the instructions in the job ad by reading the information thoroughly. Failing to do so will likely result in your application being withdrawn.

Applying for unsuitable roles

It is great to be ambitious and also confident in the way you approach your job search however it is also important to be realistic. When a job calls for mandatory qualifications, skills or experience in a certain area, we expect applicants to possess these. It is also critical that you understand the location, hours of work and pay rate for example before you apply as it can be quite frustrating for a recruiter or hiring manager to shortlist a candidate who then withdraws because they want a higher salary, can’t commit to the hours or thought the job was situated elsewhere. Make sure you read and understand all facets of the job before applying.

Forgetting to attach your resume to the application

This occurs more often than what you might think and when we receive more than 50 strong applicants for a particular position there is often not a real need to contact you to invite you to send your resume through correctly – an opportunity wasted through error.

Attaching documents in incorrect formats

Whilst most applicants provide supporting attachments in PDF or Word formats some attach these in formats that cannot be opened or recognised. We have even seen applicants take a photo of their resume and send the resume through as a picture.

Spelling or grammatical areas

Recruiters, hiring managers and employers will have genuine concerns around your ability to effectively perform in the role and work with the desired level of accuracy if you can’t demonstrate this in your initial job application. First impressions count and sometimes you don’t get a second chance at applying for that role you dearly want so we would encourage you to double check your application for any mistakes or have a friend or colleague read through it before you send it off.


Rachel Perkins
About Rachel Perkins
Rachel is the founding Director of JustMums Recruitment, a qualified Social Worker, seasoned recruiter, advocate for working Mums and a busy mother of two.

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