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Earlier this year, we asked 105 hiring managers and HR professionals to share their insights into the hiring process.

They came back to us with everything from their take on resume length to how much time they really spend reviewing your materials. Here's our final installment of our 2019 Hiring Insights series. This week, we're digging into hiring manager pet peeves.

Job seeker mistakes that drive hiring managers crazy

Of the options given in the survey, our network of HR professionals and hiring managers reported that they are most irked by an obvious copy and paste job. Are you using the same cover letter for every application and occasionally forget to change key words or even the organization name (gasp!)? According to our survey respondents, this kind of error is not something that would be easily overlooked by most hiring managers. Need a refresher on how to properly check your materials for typos and errors? Take our typo hunt quiz!

Here are some of the other common job-application-whoops moments, as reported by our survey respondents:

hiring insights

Harder-to-spot application errors

While certain typos and mistakes may be (almost) unforgivable, others can be harder to spot and may require a bit of additional research (and attention) in order to avoid. For example, you may pop onto an organization's website in order to confirm how they spell their name. At a glance, it may seem as though they don't capitalize their name or don't use a hyphen (or other punctuation). However, if you only look at their website url to confirm spelling, capitalization, or punctation of the org name (or only look at their logo), you may be missing something important. Here are some things that can be hidden:

  • Spacing and punctuation (or lack thereof) in an organization name. For example, it's not too difficult to find charity: water listed online as Charity: Water, and if you only reference their url, you may end up with charity water (no colon) or charitywater (no spaces).
  • Some organizations started with a longer name and an acronym only to later drop the full name and legally change their name only to the acronym. For example, HIAS used to be called Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Now it's simply HIAS.

So be sure that you check at least two different reference points on an organization's website to confirm that you're spelling and punctuating their name correctly in your application materials.

Pro Tip: You may also want to review an organization's website to see how they spell nonprofit. If they use a hyphen, use a hyphen in your application materials. If they include it as one word, include it as one word in your application materials. You get my point.

Alexis Perrotta profile image

Alexis Perrotta

As the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications at Idealist and a lifelong nonprofit professional, Alexis offers job seekers, game changers, and do gooders actionable tips, career resources, and social-impact advice.

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