Four very common misconceptions:
1 The purpose of the application is to get the job.
No, the purpose of the application is to get an interview. This is not the same thing and, unless the jobs you seek are offered without interview, you have to get through the interview before you’ll be considered for the job.
It isn’t good enough to send a standard CV with a covering letter which you “tweak” for each recipient. Each application should be completely tailored for its recipient. If it isn’t, that’s the first thing to fix. People understandably don’t like being addressed as if they are an anonymous member of a crowd, and you can be certain that other applicant swill have produced the personalised applications I encourage. You need to show that you recognise the uniqueness of the business to which you are applying and its current circumstances and needs.
2 The application is about you.
No, the application is about the company you are applying to join. Or, more accurately, it’s about how your presence in their midst will enhance their business in the short and long term. It’s about how they will benefit.
So you need to research thoroughly every business to which you apply. Better twelve high quality applications than countless generic ones which, at worst, might actually offend the recipient.
3 Employers know how to recruit.
I am afraid not. Even recruitment agencies vary widely in their competence. Many employers don’t really know what their business needs are in terms of extra staff, other than in the immediate future, because they have only a hazy concept of what the business’s medium and longterm future is. Your application should, therefore, do their work for them, without of course being condescending.
4 Poor presentation doesn’t matter.
Oh yes it does. Poor presentation is the fastest route to the shredder. Spelling errors, grammatical errors, poor layout of the CV and any accompanying material are not on. You need a good recent picture of you, and you should prominently display your contact details.
Ultimately, it is not a rational process whereby you provide factual information about your learning, experience and attributes, and the recruiter rationally assesses this information in the light of similar information received from other applicants and his/her deep understanding of the business’s needs.
The recruiter will respond to your application emotionally and the decision to invite you or not to an interview will be made from an emotional position. It’s probably better to think of the recruiter, faced with yet another application, asking him/herself, “Just why should I spend even half an hour talking to this person—or even reading this application any further?”
© Jeremy Marchant 2016 . image: Free images