Newpapers, TV and radio have all been reporting on unemployed job seekers in the last couple of weeks. Why people aren’t getting interviews even though they have a degree (in some cases three degrees!), the fact that no-one gets back to them after they have applied for jobs,the number of jobs people have applied for being in 100′s and so on and so forth.
Having been in the same situation myself, I know that it is a frustrating experience and receiving no communication is just one of those frustrations – probably more frustrating than receiving the dreaded “No thanks” letter or email. Looking for a new job whilst you are unemployed is almost a full time job in itself and it really has to be worked at in the same way i.e. with diligence, committment, purpose and a positive attitude.
So how can you avoid some of the pitfalls and ensure you target job vacancies effectively? First thing is to ensure your CV is up to date and relevant for the job you are applying for. Read the job description and then read it again and get the boxes ticked e.g.
- Can you really, honestly do the job you are applying for?
Sounds pretty obvious but you would be amazed at how many CVs we receive where the candidate has no experience whatsoever of the job they have applied for.
- Do you have all of the skills that the company is looking for?
Again be strict with yourself – is it wishful thinking on your part or can you really prove that you have the skills to succeed in the job role advertised.
- Have you worked in that industry and in the same sector and discipline that the company is in?
For example you have worked as an engineer in the AV industry but have applied for a job in AV sales – how realistic is this if you have never sold before? Think of the calibre of competing candidates who have a successful track record in AV sales – aren’t you setting yourself up for rejection?
Less is More
If you send out applications for 100s of jobs you are just setting yourself up for rejection time and time again. Why? Because you haven’t really targeted your job marketplace. You must ask yourself what are you offering a new employer? Where do your skills lie, what is your relevant experience, which industries have you worked in, what transferable skills do you have, how can you help a new employer to add to their bottom line, improve productivity, cut costs, save time and so on and so on……
By targeting your vacancies effectively you will be sending out many fewer applications but to people who really do need your skills and experience. As you are targeting your market you can ensure that each CV is tailored towards the job you are applying for as well as ensuring a good quality, relevant cover letter or email is sent with it telling a prospective employer why you are worth interviewing.
I’ve said this before but not ashamed to say it again – check your CV and letter and then check again and then get someone else to check it for you.
There are no excuses for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or sending the wrong letter – all of these will count against you. Examples we have seen include a letter beginning “I have always wanted to work in Financial Services…” when they were applying for job in Audio Visual.
- Keep your CV to two A4 pages
- Highlight the reasons you would be successful in the new role
- Show what you have achieved in your last position(s)
- Don’t just list job responsibilities – show how you improved things.
- Highlight your soft skills -
- problem solving
- team player skills
- conflict management
- interpersonal skills
- planning and organisation
- leadership and motivation skills
etc., these are all transferable skills but don’t just list them, show examples.
One Degree Under
As a Graduate job seeker you will be in fierce competition with others who have more experience and, of course, you need the experience to get yourself on that career ladder. So – highlight the work you did whilst at University (both paid and voluntary, as well as your course work) what skills this gave you. Tell your prospective employer (on your CV or covering letter) what you can do for them, what your ambitions are and what you have achieved so far in life. A degree on its own is just that – a degree. Well done on achieving it but you need to add your personal skills into the mix to prove to a prospective employer that you are worth employing.
It’s Good to Talk
If you’re not used to communicating by phone start practising, because very often the first point of contact is by telephone – either from the recruiter or the employer – so be prepared to listen and to talk confidently about yourself and the skills you can offer.
Communication is key – don’t send out emails, CVs or letters using text speak! Be professional, that way you will be treated professionally and this goes for employers and recruiters too – communicate. Send rejection emails or letters to all applicants – from a jobseeker’s point of view it is better to receive some communication than none at all. Return phone calls and emails as soon as is reasonably possible and, for jobseekers, understand that the employer or recruiter is busy and they will get back to you as soon as they can. We get back to all applicants within 7 working days whenever possible, though we accept we’re not perfect but we do try!
Good luck in your job search and if you would like to comment please do.