Almost every jobsearch client I speak to confirms the most common job hunter misunderstanding. Most of our clients believe that nothing could be easier than applying for an advertised job via a job site like Seek or LinkedIn. The marketers of these job sites tell us that you can browse and apply for thousands of great job opportunities with the click of a few buttons from your mobile or online devices. When you spot the right job, it’s just a case of sending off your CV to secure job interviews. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here is why.
Most of my clients confirm that their first choice is SEEK. I have some news for you. Only approximately 35 – 40% of all available jobs are advertised on the top 10 jobsites, such as Seek, MyCareer, CareerOne or LinkedIn, but approximately 70%+ of all job hunters look at those 35%+ of jobs. With competition so fierce, employers are often swamped by hundreds of resumes and cover letters in the first 2 – 3 days of any job being advertised and have little time to read each one in detail. So, candidates need to make sure they’re doing everything possible to ensure their job application makes the cut. You need to learn how to improve your job search and stop doing what everyone else is doing if you want to make the cut.
Here are 5 simple steps to double your success rate:
#1 Know about the 21st century process
Whether you’re uploading your CV onto a database so it can be found by recruiters and employers, or applying for a job ad on one of the jobsites, expect your CV to be “read” by software for relevancy.
For this reason, your CV will need to pass the first hurdle of “suitability”. Many fail to make the first cut because their CVs are not relevant or targeted enough to the role. The job description is a good place to find relevant keywords, specific skills, qualifications or areas of expertise.
Lorrie Storey from specialist engineering & operations recruiting firm Six Degrees advises against just dumping a long list of keywords at the start of your CV to improve your relevancy match, however. Instead, a well-written executive summary of around 150-200 words can help a job board categorise you and gives recruiters a good picture of your expertise and talents. If you want to submit a bullet proof job application that secures job interviews, hire an expert resume writer or subscribe to our job hunter newsletters to learn about the Dos and Don’ts of resume writing.
#2 Prove an earnest effort on your application
Prove to the hiring professional that you made an earnest effort, that you’ve read the job description and that your resume and cover letter reflects the role requirements. Focus on the “So what?” of what you’ve done – what value is it to a potential employer? Along with the scope of your role, targets and responsibilities, highlight your achievements and how you’ve used your skills. Failing to do this can make a recruiter wonder if you’re really bothered about the opportunity, Lorrie says. Key details should be prominent and on the first page of your CV.
A good layout also shows you’ve made an effort. Keep your font consistent throughout your CV. Inconsistencies can look like you’ve copied and pasted from elsewhere.
#3 You snooze – you lose!
Expect fierce competition so don’t delay too long before you apply. Research varies, but around 250 CVs are received for each quality job vacancy with responses arriving within 2 – 4 days after the posting. Don’t sacrifice quality for speed though. Lack of key info and substantiation of the claims you make in your resume and cover letter are still one of the biggest reasons applications are rejected. Speed up your response rate by signing up for alerts which tell you when relevant jobs are advertised.
#4 Keep formatting simple
While a cool looking designed CV is great for face-to-face meetings, go for simple formatting when you’re submitting your CV to an online database or job site, so that it can be parsed into the system. Don’t include graphics, tables or images. Upload as a word document or PDF.
#5 Did I mention to “Follow the Instructions”?
Follow the application instructions to avoid falling at the first hurdle. Some job sites also give specifics on CV layout and submission, helping you present information in the optimum way for that job site, employer or recruiter.
Avoid putting too much irrelevant or private information on your CV. This is not just to help protect you, but also to make sure you aren’t inadvertently ruling yourself out for a job because you created bias against yourself with “TMI” (too much info). A silly email address is just one of many examples and can get you de-listed in a second. Make sure you’re familiar with the privacy settings of the job site and that you can choose how much information to make visible.
As well as the big generalist boards, also search on smaller job boards that specialise in your sector or geographical area. Most of all, do things differently and smarter. Separate yourself from the mob to secure job interviews. We can show you how. And … always remember to hunt wisely!