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Chelsea and Lauren share some of the egregious job application mistakes people have made when applying for an internship. Want more job search advice? Check out this video:

The Financial Diet blog:

Chelsea: Hi I'm Chelsea,

Lauren: and I'm Lauren,

Chelsea: and we are

Together: the financial diet.

Chelsea: and today we're going to be talking about some of the really egregious mistakes that we saw on our applications for our summer intern program. Now, when we announce the program, I think we made the qualifications just about as general as they could possibly be. You had to be a current college student somewhere in America, either at a community college or four year school. You could basically be anyone as long as you knew how to spell and could send an application. And, we did this in part because our readership on the site tends to be a little bit older, so we wanted to make sure we got as many college students as possible. What we didn't realize was that by making the qualifications so open, we kind of opened ourselves up to a bit of, let's call it a collage of different, you know, applications levels, and some people made some mistakes that were so egregious that as soon as we looked at their first few lines we were like this person doesn't even want to work for us probably.

Lauren: And, I know from my experience, when I applied to internships, I made a ton of mistakes on my applications. So, I wish I had almost a big sister figure to come in and tell me "Hey Lauren. Like try not to do this again."

Chelsea: No job application is going to be perfect, but you can at least avoid like the insane mistakes that are going to disqualify you from any job. And, we're going to share with you the most egregious mistakes that we saw, because at the end of the day we want you guys to get the jobs you want and we even want the people who sent us those like quasi-disrespectful applications to also get the jobs that they want. Now the first mistake that we saw was really not researching the company that you're applying to, and this kind of manifested itself in a few different ways but generally speaking, we could look at a resume and see that the person had like literally never logged on to financial diet and they were applying to be an editorial intern. When you're applying to a company, you should go out of your way to at least know a few basic facts about the company in question, and be able to site at least one or two specific reasons to the company why you want to work there. Because, otherwise people can tell when this is like clearly you're seventieth application of the day and you don't even know what you're apply to anymore.

Lauren: The second thing that we saw was a lot of people applying for the job long after the deadline had come and gone. So, this could be a huge red flag for a potential employer, if you can't even follow the simple instruction of sending in your application with a time sensitive deadline on it. It just makes you look really bad, really unprofessional, and incapable, frankly, of reading a date.

Chelsea: Number three is sending multiple applications to the same company, which I think in the mind of the person doing this shows like moxie, but it's incredibly annoying and disrespectful. Generally speaking, a person who's going through applications is dealing with tons and tons of them coming in, and it's hard enough when everyone's just sending in one. When you keep sending and re-sending an application before the person has had a chance to respond, all you're saying is pay attention to me because I'm more important that all of the rest of your work.

Lauren: Another thing that we had noticed was just a lack of proofreading on the part of the applicants. Now I personally don't have the best spelling and grammar abilities as Chelsea can attest to, but [laughing][Chelsea: What? Never] that doesn't mean I have to work super hard to make sure that I come across as professional and on top of my shit all the time. That meant that when I was applying to things like internships and jobs, I would have three people proofread my cover letters and resumes just to make sure there was absolutely no errors on them. So that sets the initial tone of who you are as a potential employee, and really goes a long way.

Chelsea: The next one is send a cover letter that's clearly a template. No matter how many companies you are applying to, take that extra time to craft the cover letter unique to that company, because people can generally tell when this cover letter is being used to be sent out to websites and coffee shops and, you know, trucking associations and you know the Smithsonian, where ever you're applying. Like, we can tell if it's something that has nothing to do with what we do. In fact, a few of the cover letters we even received didn't even say a website. They just said "Really excited to work at your company. I'm a great employee."

Lauren: So, if you're cover letter sounds stale at all, it's pretty much like a guaranteed no, that you're not going to get a call back. So, we actually went with the applicant who had a really unique and engaged and enthusiastic sounding cover letter. Another thing that was really hard not to notice was when people just got the names of things that they really should have known wrong. Again, this goes back to one of our earlier points about having researched the company that you're applying to.

Chelsea: You can have the most incredible application anyone has ever seen, and if you misspelled the name of the person reading the application, like, you've disqualified yourself immediately. And don't forget, if there's any chance you're going to be speaking to the person who's going over your application or interviewing with them or what have you, do everything in your power to figure out how to pronounce their name correctly before you meet them. The last one is kind of general, but very important, which is just not sounding enthusiastic at all. You can have a completely technically correct application and even a great cover letter, but if you just sound completely stale and uninterested and just like "this is work, I'm not going to express myself as a human" like no one wants to work with that. Ultimately so much of work, and especially the higher end process, comes down to just a feeling of I like this person, I can see myself working with this person every day. And, if you don't go out of your way to show, you know, measured but good human relatable enthusiasm and sound, you know, friendly in your application no one is going to feel that way. The difference between being in the maybe pile and someone really advocating for you is if they really like you. So, don't just take the time to present your best professional self. Present your best personal self.

Lauren: And, some of these tips might come off as a little bit harsh, but we don't intend them to come off that way. Um, we just find them to be really helpful, and is frankly things that we wish we knew earlier on. And, sometimes it takes a little bit of tough love to help refine the job hunt process.

Chelsea: So, as always, thanks for watching, and don't forget to hit the subscribe button and to go to the for more.

Together: Bye.