As a recruiter, I instantly recognise what a good application is and what is not and therefore won’t spend time on. An application is not just the submission of interest towards a job; it is all the preparation and follow ups that circle around it. If you are not doing the application process correctly from start to finish, then you minimise your chances of progressing. In this week’s blog post, I aim to create awareness for the importance of every little thing you do. I will let you know how I perceive the 5 below errors, and to give you purpose to everything you do when applying to a job. These 5 errors may seem small, but I will let you know how they are perceived to recruiters and hiring managers such as myself.
Read the job ad properly; what is actually being asked of you?
Don’t rush the very first stage and spend the rest of your efforts on your application with tunnel-vision. It becomes very obvious very quickly that you have either spent a lot of time wanting to secure the role, or if you have just copied and pasted your previous 40 applications from that job hunting session!
As a recruiter, it is frustrating to receive applications saying how interested people are to join my company when I have clearly stated in the job post that we are the agency, advertising on behalf of our client. It looks very silly hearing how much you want to join my company when we are not offering a role with us.
The next (and most common) error that happens is not recognising the difference between a CV and a resume. If a company asks for a CV (as I often do), then you are sending a detailed overview about yourself. If asked for a resume, then you have been specifically asked to give a snapshot of your CV, no more than 3 pages, which is specific to the role. Don’t craft a resume as instructed and then send though an attachment titled ‘CV’.
If you have been asked to address any question in your application then make sure you do, as often your answer to these is the most important factor of your application.
If any of these errors occur, it means the recruiter or hiring manager is reading the rest of your application with you already on the back foot, because it shows you cannot follow instructions. No matter how amazing your resume or CV may be, you may have already lost the opportunity with your generic and lazy email and cover letter.
You can’t expect the recruiter or hiring manager to spend a lot of time and effort reading your application when you clearly haven’t spent any time reading their job post!
Give purpose to everything you say:
The lengthiest part of your resume or CV often comes from the dot points describing your past experiences. Read each dot point carefully and think what purpose it gives to the person who will be reading it. Try swapping responsibilities to accomplishments, which create much more value. It is a lot more impressive to say the accomplishment of “supervised 10 high-performing staff, as proven with mystery shopper results” rather than the responsibility of “supervised 10 staff.” Give wow-factor to everything you do.
Aside from the importance of giving purpose to everything you provide it is also a handy way to cut down your resume or CV. Have a read through after reading this blog to see if you can cut anything from your resume or CV that doesn’t give true purpose or value.
Tailor for each opportunity:
Don’t let your applications appear generic. Paraphrase important terms from the job ad into your application and find what values will get the reader’s attention from the company website. If you apply to jobs that are mostly ‘private advertiser’, then I suggest changing your job hunting methods, as it is worth using the company’s values from their website to your advantage.
I know that this method adds an extra 10+ minutes to every position you apply for, but you will thank me for it as it is important that you appear motivated and keen for that particular position, not just sending through a generic copy/paste effort.
This is very similar to an entire blog post I wrote last September which focuses on motivation and enthusiasm: http://www.careeroftheday.com.au/not-getting-past-the-interview-stage-maybe-no-one-likes-you/
Don’t leave questions:
This is a short and simple one; don’t leave questions in your application. A big trap that my applicants fall into (particularly engineers and IT professionals) is listing each software they have worked with but not stating which edition and what level of proficiency.
Another one to think of is if you have a drivers licence, it is good to list it. I have 2 clients that will not hire employees, no matter what the profession, if they cannot transport themselves between offices if required. It may not state this on the job description, but you have nothing to lose including it at the top or the bottom.
Truth is, with some questions outstanding, your application may be stuck in the pile between shortlisted and not suited, and the recruiter or hiring manager may not have the time or bother to contact you to clarify those simple points, thus never progressing with you any further.
Finally, be mindful of your contact with the recruiter or hiring manager. It does look a little odd when I check my inbox in the morning and I have received a job application at some odd time like 3am! Try to keep your correspondence between 7am-10pm. If you are a bit of a night-person, prepare everything and hit send in the morning.
I have been questioned why this matters and if it is intrusive and somewhat discriminatory for me to have this as a factor. That’s not the case at all. The reason is because if I see the application at 9.30am and I want to give the applicant a call to clarify something with them or give them a phone interview, I would hesitate because I wouldn’t want to disturb the person who I assume has only just got to bed several hours before. You don’t want to slow down the person reading your application, don’t let things like this be a factor, do everything timely and with purpose.
Continuing towards the end of the application process, if you have an interview and you are told “we won’t have an answer to you for at least the next fortnight”, then don’t call back 2 days later. Be timing, call to get an update once a fortnight has passed since that conversation. Furthermore, give purpose to your phone call, say “I was initially told a fortnight, just seeking an update to my application as I am really keen for this role”.
It’s only 5 small tips that I have provided, but they are all simple things that need to be executed properly. The main thing I wish for all job seekers to take away from this blog is to give purpose to everything you do, being mindful about how the recruiters and hiring managers perceive you from these important early steps.
Happy New Year and if you ever need further advice, you know how to contact us.