27. October 2009 09:08
Job seeking takes time. Updating your CV, filling out applications,
tailoring your covering letter, finding email contacts, or applying for
vacancies online... all of these aspects of your job hunt are very time
consuming, and this can quite frankly, be a bit of a pain. But are you
making the most out of your job search? And are you following the rules
of a good applicant?
Is this you?
your time sourcing out jobs from loads of different places, you have
newspapers with jobs circled, email addresses of companies, of
recruitment agencies, of jobs websites, vacancies to apply for- and
after finding the jobs and the contacts, it can be quite easy to take a
shortcut at the final hurdle. So you just send your CV packing, with
its generic covering letter, and a few choice words on an email about
how you hope you'll be considered for their vacancy. Because, to be
honest- you're kind of sick of the sight of CV, and of all of the bits
of paper cluttering up your desk. It's best to just get your CV out
there to as many employers as possible, to fully increase your chances
of getting an interview.
You're feeling pretty pleased with
yourself, you've done all the hard work and your CV is now out of your
hands, on the tremendous journey to sail into the inbox of potential
new employers. How exciting. It would probably surprise you to hear
then, that all of your hard work is about the equivalent of printing
out your CV, crumpling it into a ball and throwing it into the nearest
waste paper basket.
But it's true. A thoughtless, non specific, rushed application that you send en masse
to employers, recruitment agencies, jobs websites, and anyone else you
can think of is NOT going to secure you a job anytime soon.
How to break the 'bad applicant' cycle
the art of applying for jobs is, just that, an art form. Every part of
the process from the email that accompanies your attached CV to your
covering letter will be scrutinised. There are so many opportunities
for a company to quash your application before it is even seen by the
person who makes the employment decisions, that it really should be
flawless to stand any reasonable chance of securing you an interview.
for a job isn't a numbers game. Some candidates believe that the more
jobs they apply for, the more chance of securing a job. However the
reality is that a few well-crafted, thoughtful applications, suitably
tailored to each job and company are worth ten thousand randomCV's emailed to any old employer.
good application will involve research into the company hiring. You
will need to find out by looking at the job description what key skills
and attributes they are looking for, and ensure you highlight your
skills in these areas on your covering letter. Your covering letter
absolutely must be tailored for each job you go for- generic letters
with cliched phrases will just not be acceptable- the employer will not
see your enthusiasm or passion for their business- instead you will
just be another drone, sending in your CV with little thought to the
A good application can take from a few hours to a whole
days worth of work, so it really isn't something you can replicate
hundreds of times. Be selective, choose roles that you really can
succeed in, and take the time to think about the whole process- this is
your first impression to a company; you owe it to yourself to get it
The key things to remember when applying for jobs are:
Know who you are sending your CV to.
I'm not a recruiter, but yet my inbox gets inundated with applications
for vacancies within my 'esteemed organisation' that we don't even
have. Learn the differences between a jobs website, a CV distribution
service and a recruitment agency and use all of them to your advantage.
Find out what each can do for you and how best to get the most out of
their services. By all means inquire with a company as to whether they
have vacancies, but fully understand the role of the organisation, and
whether you'd fit into it before you do so.
Do your homework.
Find out who you need to send your application to and write a well
crafted covering letter personal to each vacancy you wish to apply for.
Take the time to find out the exact person or department that you need
to be in touch with when applying for vacancies, because another member
of the company might not pass it on.
Take your time. Yes
it's time consuming, yes it's a little boring and a lot frustrating-
but the payoff could be fantastic. Spend time on each application you
send, put yourself on the other end of your email or application- and
ask yourself; would you hire you?
Happy Job Hunting!
12. May 2009 08:37
Perfecting your CV is one thing, but what if an employer never gets to see it? The sad fact is that an employer might not have the time to read through every applicant’s CV. A polished CV may get overlooked if your covering letter is either non-existent, or not up to scratch.
By writing a focused, concise covering letter that highlights your key attributes, you can give yourself the best chance of getting noticed and inspiring your employer to read on. So sit back and make sure your covering letter ticks all of the following boxes:
Correctly address your covering letter to the right person. Take the time to find out who should receive your application. Vaguely addressing it to ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, may see your CV getting dusty on the desk of an admin assistant, or filed away in a drawer never to see daylight. So get on the phone, and find out who is in charge of the recruitment process, and make sure your CV lands on the desk of the person who can give you a job. Always use a person’s title and their last name; don’t make the mistake of being too familiar with someone you have never met.
Include the right details relevant to the job you are applying for. In your letter, include the title of the job you are applying for and the matching reference number. An employer might have vacancies for more than one job role, so make it clear what you are applying for.
Identify how you heard about the job, for example: ‘I am writing in response to the advert you placed on AllTheTopBananas.com’ as this is useful to a recruiter, as they will want to know where their advertisement is receiving the best response.
Keep it short, concise and to the point. Your covering letter should be no longer than one page of A4 and a good length to aim for is just over half a page. Keep a clear focus on what you are writing; make your points in as few words as you can whilst still conveying the overall message. Remember that a lot of the things you will be mentioning should appear in your CV, so keep it brief and to the point.
Proof read your work. Check, check and CHECK AGAIN. Employers often cite bad spelling and grammar as one of the first reasons they stop reading an application. If an employer reads fifty covering letters, and ten have bad spelling, they still have forty competent applicants, so there is no reason to give the benefit of the doubt to the bad spellers. Avoid being wiped out at the first hurdle by checking your spelling, checking your grammar, checking it reads well and getting someone else to do the same.
Research the company and let that come across in your covering letter. Explain why working for this particular employer interests you, and demonstrate your knowledge of the business- what their strengths are, their position in the industry, and why this makes you want to work there.
Give examples of your strengths that make you suitable for the position. Don’t just produce big unsupported statements about your ‘excellent managerial skills’, if you do not make reference to the role where you displayed these talents.
Display a good knowledge of the job role. Demonstrate a good understanding of the position you are applying for and show how your skills are relevant to the job, as this emphasises that you understand what they are looking for.
Don’t send a picture- if it’s not an application for Britain’s Next Top Model, then a recruiter probably won’t care if you have two heads, as long as you can do the job you’ve applied for. No-one is going to be interested in the fact that you are sporting the latest trendy haircut, so leave your snaps in your photo album.
And if all that info has got your head spinning, here’s an example cover letter to give you some inspiration:
Dear Mr Johnston,
I am writing in response to the job advert you placed on AllTheTopBananas.com, to express my interest in the vacancy of Sales Manager (ref 645/1982).
I believe I have the right skills for this position and wish to further my career in sales management, which is a position I upheld at my previous employment with Sales Inc. for five years. Being in charge of a team of six has made me very adept at motivating a team and ensuring the smooth running of my department.
I am very interested in applying for this vacancy as I have often admired the business model that Sell, Sell, Sell, adheres to. Your large selection of clients is renowned within the industry and so is the quality of service you provide, which is something that I pride myself on within my own work.
I have held a number of roles that have enabled me to develop and perfect my skills in effective sales and customer service management. I am very goal oriented and have been successful in ensuring my team met the deadlines and targets set each quarter, and I believe that these skills would make me a valuable asset to your company.
Please see attached my CV for your further information. I am available for interview at any time, and my contact information is at the top of my CV. I look forward to hearing from you soon,