What not to do when applying for a job
I've been reading through a number of job applications recently and considering the wealth of information available everywhere on how to write a good application I am seriously mystified by shortcomings of those we've received . With being on the job market myself and all I'm not above giving people the benefit of the doubt for typos, minor redundancies or overdoing the self appraisal a bit, but man, some of this is unbelievable.
So please, if you recognize yourself in the following and I have been slaving away reading your application, I don't feel sorry for you. You can consider this a wake-up call and join the nearest job search course or type in "advice for job applications" in Google, and I'm pretty sure you will not be recommended to do ANY of the following.
If your wider field is, say particle physics, why would you think it would be worth your time to apply for a post doc in archeology (or whatever similarly far fetched field it is that I work in)? A particularly surprising aspect of this is that we actually got two applications from people with the same irrelevant background. I'm now considering putting these two people in touch with one another. Maybe they can figure something out together.
If you haven't finished your PhD yet, you shouldn't write "PhD degree expected spring 2007" in a CV updated a mere month ago.
If you have ever been in the same class for a grad school course as someone on the search committee, don't state in your CV that you are an expert on the topic, if the course is all you have ever done. (What do you think, I was there, I'm not even close to being an expert on the topic). If you can't help it and really think you are now an expert on orange-growth in cold climates, at least don't state the course as the reason for this.
If you don't write who you are or why you are applying, please, don't expect me to invite you for an interview.
If you can't come up with a single sentence about why you would want to work with this topic or what you have to offer, don't waste your time, and go do something else.
If you don't have a PhD, are in the process of doctoral studies or were ever admitted to a PhD programme, you are not eligible for a post doc position - and yes, that actually goes for two applicants out of the pile.
If you have applied before for the same position and we re-open the search it doesn't help you to change the titles of what you were doing in various stages of your life (it was not about the titles in the first place, but because you don't have the necessary experience).
If we mention in the add that it is very important that you have a good network in your particular discipline as you will be responsible for starting up a new line of work in our group, it is not good enough that you think our field is exciting and of importance to humankind, when you have no experience whatsoever.
Seriously, what is the matter with you people?
Sorry about the rant, but this took HOURS out of my day. I'm off to calm down at yoga class.