Are you applying for a job or scholarship? The following list of pitfalls to avoid apply to *all* aspects of the process: resumes, cover letters, essays, and even your interview and thank you note. Here are The Essay Expert’s first 5 tips to help you distinguish yourself from the competition… 6-10 coming soon!

1. Not answering the question

If an employer or committee asks a question, be sure to answer it! They ask questions in part to hear your answers, and in part to make sure you can follow instructions and stay focused. Sometimes you can answer the question in a creative way, but make sure you have a professional review your answer (for interviews, practice this skill before the actual interview!). The perfect essay or interview response answers the question and shows off your key strengths and accomplishments.

2. Exceeding the word or page limit
Your application can get thrown out if you do not comply with the word and page limits. Do not take that chance! There is no point in writing a brilliant essay if it never gets read. Would you rather write 511 words that never get read or 500 words that do? If you are having trouble staying within the word and page limits provided, work with an expert to help you concisely say everything you want to say. Practice concise verbal answers too before you get to your interview!

3. Pointing out why you do not qualify for the position
Why would you highlight the reasons an employer would not want to hire you, or the reasons why someone else might be a better recipient of that scholarship? Many applicants make that very mistake. You can be sure that the people reading your application or sitting across from you in an interview already know what?s missing from your application ? they have seen your resume. If they are talking to you, it means they are willing to overlook some of your weak points. Showcase your strengths so that the committee trusts you to do the job even if you don?t meet every qualification on paper.

4. Bragging

While you do not want to speak negatively about yourself, you also do not want to brag. A caveat: Many people think they are bragging and they are not; they are just stating their accomplishments. However, sometimes an essay or interview response can sound too self-congratulatory, even to someone wanting to hear about your best. The best policy is to provide facts that demonstrate something extraordinary about your accomplishments. You may want to hire someone to help you strike a balance between selling yourself and going overboard with self-praise.

5. Making grammatical and spelling errors
Employers and committees want candidates to demonstrate attention to detail and the ability to communicate effectively. Grammatical and spelling errors demonstrate the lack of these abilities. Slow down in an interview so that you sound professional. And never submit a resume, essay or application without having an expert review it! Your investment will give you peace of mind and unprecedented results.

Go to The Essay Expert’s Services and Rates page to make sure your writing and interviewing skills will make a good impression!

Stay tuned for Making a Great Impression Part 2… More Tips for Effective Job and Scholarship Applications

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