You’ll do yourself a big favor by taking your time when you are applying for jobs.

In the past month, two people I know were in a big hurry to submit their applications for jobs. And both made errors in their submissions. They decided to listen to their sense that time was flying by and just get something in. Then when they realized they’d made mistakes, they beat themselves up.

My question to each was “why the hurry?” Were they really going to miss the opportunity if they submitted a day or two later? Or were they letting fear govern their actions, stop them from thinking?

FEAR as an acronym stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. In these situations, both women believed false evidence – evidence they really manufactured themselves. No one told them that they HAD to submit by the date they did submit. They just made that up because of their anxiety about possibly missing the opportunity, as well as their strong desire to know NOW or at least soon that they would have a new job. Their belief was false because it was not based in any fact, but solely on their feelings.

In fact, it’s far more likely that they would miss the opportunity because of their mistakes. I know many hiring agents who discard cover letters and resume with any typos, irregular formatting (as one woman had), and errors like referring to another employer in the cover letter (as the other woman did).

A corollary issue was that both women believed that they couldn’t afford to wait for anyone else to review the materials for errors or to help them with formatting issues. This certainly stemmed from their fear and anxiety. It also stemmed from their discomfort in asking for help, as they admitted to me.

It can be humbling to ask for input from someone else, when you are used to being competent and capable in your field. Job search is difficult, isolating, and demanding of a different set of skills than one’s professional skills. You need and deserve help.

It pays off to take your time and make sure you are submitting the most accurate, legible, and proofread application materials. You remove the inconsequential reasons for a hiring agent to disqualify you from consideration and give yourself a better chance to make it to the “yes” pile for an interview.

In a time when there average 4 or 5 job seekers for every open position – and hundreds of applicants for many positions – employers look for any way to narrow the field. Don’t give them a reason to exclude you. Give yourself every advantage!

  • Ask someone to review your cover letter for accuracy before you send it.
  • Make sure your resume is error-free, and that its format will translate into any computer system.
  • Better yet, convert your resume into a PDF so it appears exactly as you want it to look. Download, a free program that will allow you to create PDF documents in less than 5 minutes. It’s very easy!

In fact, one woman I know is now putting her cover letter and resume in the same PDF document and attaching it to the e-mail through which she submits her application. In so doing, she ensures that the cover letter is thoroughly bound to the resume and thus more likely to be read.

It takes a certain level of confidence to ask for and then take assistance in putting your best foot forward during a job search. And it takes a load of faith to believe that putting your best foot forward will result in securing your “right fit work.” In my experience and those of the people I help, that faith pays off. Give it a try, by not giving into your fears and taking your time.