It is really not hard to apply for jobs. In most cases, all that’s needed is to hit the “Apply” button or send an email, and your application is in the pool for a new job.Really? Experienced job hunters know it isn’t that simple. Most job applications seem to get lost in black holes, which is very discouraging.
So, how do you get your application to the top of the pile?
Employers are usually inundated with applications to every job posting with an average of 250 – 400 per job. Before you hit that Apply button, take the time to make sure that your response stands out in that flood of applications by reviewing and cross checking it against the 5 Must-Do Job Ad Analyser Steps.
#5. Is this a real job ad from a real employer?
This is the 1st and most important step and is more about protecting your time as a job seeker than impressing an employer, but it’s equally important. Unfortunately, many job scams exist, created by businesses who use fake job ads to collect data from you to sell or for other uses, or who simply want to sell you their services. Learn to decipher job ads. Your actions during the whole job application process are examples of your work. So, don’t waste your time with quick, copy and paste, run-of-the-mill responses to jobs you don’t really want. Focus your efforts on providing high-quality responses to jobs you qualify for and would enjoy doing and for employers for whom you would be happy to work.
#4. Pay attention to the requested “How to submit” instructions!
Some businesses ask that you submit through their website or their own applicant tracking system by simply uploading your application materials and hitting “submit”. But, the job ad may also contain other specifications like a specific email address for responses and/or follow up. There might also be directions in terms of what kind of materials to submit and what format (including requested file formats) they should be in.
Though it seems obvious, it’s important to follow directions. Not following directions not only indicates that you didn’t read the job description properly, but it might also disqualify you from the review process right from the start.
#3. Does the job ad contain any unusual questions for you to answer?
Asking a question in the job ad or the job description that requires an answer in your response is an increasingly popular way by many employers to tell if you have actually paid attention to the ad. It is also a simple test of how good an employee you might be. Typically, fewer than ten percent of job seekers answer the question, which potentially immediately eliminates ninety percent of the applicants from consideration.
For example, many companies, and especially Start Ups, ask applicants to answer one or two personal questions or alternatively to submit a short 60 or 90 second video response. It helps them separate the people who pay attention from the people who don’t, and it gives them very good insight into the job applicant from the answers or the video submitted. Answering the requests indicates that you can read and understand what is in the description, that you took time to do that, and also that you can follow directions. An ability to follow directions is an important skill to demonstrate because it is what nearly every job requires.
#2. Beyond the job title, do you really want to “Do” that job?
Maybe the job title is “sales assistant” (a job you want), but the job requires someone to do some cold calling tasks and some reporting, which you can do (but hate).
I strongly suggest that you read each job ad at least 2 to 3 times if you are genuinely interested in the job and that you pay attention to the description of what the person in the job will be expected to do, often called “Duties” or “Responsibilities”. Often, like the job’s requirements, the duties/responsibilities are listed in descending order of relevance and importance to the job. Note the things in the list that you don’t enjoy doing or don’t do well. How high are they on the list?
#1. Lastly, how many of the key and transferrable requirements do you meet?
We have a great job market in Australia, but nonetheless it is still a competitive job market, and employers typically have lots of choices of job candidates. So, unless you meet at least 50% of the requirements described, don’t waste your and the employer’s time by applying for the job.
Pay particular attention to the transferrable skills or requirements. The more you can tick with a yes, the better the chances for the job. The other key requirements are usually (but not always) listed in descending order of importance.
If you want more info on the subject, subscribe to my blog posts and/or hire one of our coaches to help you with your job search. If you want to stand out, refrain from half-hearted copy and paste applications, pay attention and address all of the requirements in the job ad, follow our 5 Must Do Job Ad Analyser Steps and, of course, always remember to hunt wisely!