Is this common application mistake holding you back?

Why failing to follow application instructions is one of the top reasons applicants don’t get shortlisted for interviews… 

So you’ve found an amazing job, you think: ‘perfect, I’ll click apply and bat them my CV’, without a second thought.


You’ve got to put in a bit of time and effort – at least finish reading the advert because you may well be missing the application instructions.

Your ability to follow said instructions is going to influence a company’s view of you as a potential employee.

But you’ve got a great CV, surely that makes up for missing the instructions?

Having a great CV is awesome and yes, the company might notice you for your CV alone. It might indicate all the things you want to say to the employer.

However, a company has invested their time and effort into the recruitment process. Therefore, if the instructions say to include a cover letter or fill in the application form and you don’t, it makes the employer question why you didn’t.

In some cases, employers even use specific instructions as a tool to weed out those individuals who have not bothered to follow them – before they embark on a lengthy and time consuming shortlisting process.

Here are some of the views that employers might take of your application if you haven’t followed the instructions:

  • You have a lack of attention to detail: You did not pay attention to what the organisation wanted to get from applicants – this might be reflected in any work you do for them or their clients, if they took you on.
  • You haven’t invested your time: You’ve attached a CV without investing time to read the advert/instructions and this suggests you might not care enough about the job.
  • You don’t have the ability to follow instructions: In every job role there will be some kind of instructions to follow, if you can’t do it for an application why would you do it in the role?

Now these reasons may not be true of you at all. You may applied without thinking or you were worried about the deadline and thought a CV was better than nothing (which is true, but ONLY when you are up to the wire on a deadline).

However, it is crucial to understand that the application instructions are of paramount importance.  So, make an effort, pay attention to the details and show them you care enough about the opportunity, to follow their instructions.

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