Lots of people send us job applications and lots of them really do it wrong.


What are we looking for from a job applicant? We want leaders who have demonstrated character and a willingness to serve others; including their teammates. We want people who will provide our severely injury clients extraordinary service during the most difficult days of their lives. Personally, being a former athlete, I also look for competitors. Applicants who have shown a willingness to compete – after all, we’re in an adversarial business.


Here’s what we don’t want. We don’t want complainers. We don’t want 9-5’ers who can’t wait until Friday. We don’t want people with poor judgement. We don’t want ego drama.


It may sound a bit harsh but many job applicants are setting themselves up for failure. Here’s the short list of three simple mistakes I have seen many times over the course of my career. Don’t make them.


Unprofessional E-mail Addresses


Your e-mail address can make a difference. When I receive a job application and resume from Crazychick911@whatever.com. my fingers cannot click the delete button fast enough. Sorry, it may have been the first thing that came to mind when you were choosing an e-mail address but if you expect me to be impressed think again.


I have seen this over and over again. It may be unfair for me to judge a person on their e-mail address; I get that. The reality is however I receive many applications from highly qualified professional candidates. The competition is tough. With an e-mail address like this one, you are setting yourself up for failure.


Social Media Complainers


By now everyone knows prospective employers survey you social media posts. Whether it’s right or wrong of me, I am not going to entrust my clients to someone who is a serial complainer on social media.  Complainaholics have no place in my world or the worlds of my clients.


My clients have had real drama, real losses, and no matter what challenge you are facing, I can point you to 10 clients off the top of my head who have survived unimaginable events. Your rants, trolls and complaints about a late transit bus or how someone just cut you off on the highway may get you lots of likes and thumbs ups from your friends on social media but they move my hands closer to the delete button. My clients need positive people in their lives who have a sense of perspective about what loss really means. They don’t need complainers.


Spelling Mistakes on Job Applications


I received this one once:


I have greatt attention to detail


How ironic was that one! Unfortunately, it’s far too common.


Everyone makes spelling mistakes, but you have to appreciate you are going to be judged by your resume and cover letter. If you send a letter out under our law firm letterhead with spelling mistakes, it reflects poorly on us. We don’t want you. We have worked hard on our reputation and it doesn’t include spelling mistakes.


The harsh reality is that someone is going to look at your application letter and resume for two minutes or less. Along with your experience, education and training, they are looking for clues about the type of worker and team mate you would be.  Would I trust you to be dealing with my vulnerable clients? Unfortunate e-mail addresses, social media complainaholics and resumes with spelling mistakes are going to walk themselves over to the trash bin.


I should have described some other things I like to see. I’ll leave that for another day. For now, for what they are worth, that’s my advice.



Author: Bill Teggart

Bill Teggart is a leading Ontario personal injury lawyer and has been included in Best Lawyers in Canada for five consecutive years. He represents people who have suffered severe injuries or lost a loved one in car accidents, snowmobile accidents and boating accidents.