7 things you really shouldn't do when applying for a graduate job

Lara Billington
Content Marketing Executive

Nobody's perfect, but some mistakes just can't be overlooked.  

Applying for a job is never easy for any graduate and no one's going to sail through the entire process with no slip ups. A typo on your CV for example, or a not-so-great answer to an interview question are unlikely to cost you a job, but there's some mistakes that really won't reflect well on you.

Lucky for you, we're warning you about them now so you don't have to learn the hard way. And if you think these mistakes are glaringly obvious and are wondering who on earth would make such faux-pas, you'd be surprised. 




1. Don't call the company by the wrong name 

If you're shooting off CVs left, right and centre it's easy to make silly mistakes like this. First off, you're falling at the first hurdle if you send the same generic CV and cover letter to every employer with just the company name swapped in and out. 

Ideally you should tailor every CV to the specific company and role you're applying for; this'll not only stop you making the mistake of writing the wrong company name, but will demonstrate to employers that you don't just want any old job, but their job. 


2. Or the name of the person who's interviewing you 

Pay close attention when your interviewer says their name on an email, the phone or at the start of an interview. It's easy to hear someone's name then instantly forget it, but if at any point you need to say it and get it wrong, it's embarrassing for everyone. 

And if you intend on sending them a polite email following the interview to thank them, make sure to address them by the right name. If you don't, it kind of defeats the object of the polite email. 


3. Don't lie on your CV

And try not to embellish it either as it'll only come back to bite you. If you write on your CV that you're a certified expert in Photoshop, when in actual fact the last time you used it was to make party invitations for your 16th birthday, chances are your employer will be less than impressed if you turn up to the job with no knowledge of Photoshop. 

Instead focus on the skill you do have, whether they're directly related to the job or transferable - transferable skills are much more valuable than made-up skills. 


4. Don't send your application from an email address you made when you were fourteen

If a well-respected employer receives an application from an email address by the name of xx_1Dsbiggestfan_xx@hotmail.com they might, first of all, think it's spam and then swiftly presume you're not serious about the role. 

If you're a uni student you'll have a uni email; use it when applying for jobs and avoid your application being sent straight to a potential employers junk mail. If you're a grad, it might be time to come up with a username that's a bit more employer-friendly. 


5. Don't wear something inappropriate to an interview 

Deciding what to wear to an interview can be difficult and you'll need to consider the company you're applying for when choosing an outfit. A business suit might be required if you're applying to somewhere corporate, or if a company's culture is more relaxed, smart-casual might work better. 

Saying that, there are some items of clothing that you should never set foot in an interview wearing. Flip flops, trainers, short skirts, visible underwear of any kind, low-cut tops, gym clothes and excessive jewellery are just a few offenders.

Of course, it's important to wear something you're comfortable in but if you exclusively wear open-toe footwear and hate the idea of having to suppress your authentic self, for the sake of a job, switching it up for an interview will be worth it. 


6. Don't swear 

If dropping the F-bomb is ingrained into your vocabulary this might be a tough one, but avoid swearing in an interview at all costs. If, for whatever random reason, the interviewer swears at any point don't take it as an indication that you can. It'll make you look unprofessional and ill-mannered. 


7. Don't send off a four page long CV 

No matter how many internships you've done over the past 3 years, no graduate can justify a CV that's longer than 2 pages. Your CV should demonstrate your relevant experience for that role, so tailoring it based on the job requirements is essential. Also, a recruiter is probably only going to only scan your CV so keeping it concise will ensure they don't miss any important information.