Applying for a new role can be tedious at the best of times – we’ve all been there, wondering after making a few applications is we’ll ever hear anything back from recruiters and employers. In a deflated state we start to become less professional to sending off our CVs as there seems little if no point in making any extra effort as no effort is offered in response. I have compiled a list of application mistakes below – some of which do seem a little farfetched, but having spent 5 years in recruitment trust me it does happen!
- Copy and pasting parts of the job advert into your CV – yes we have seen a number of candidates who feel they match a role so well that they simply take the requirements of the advert and paste into their remit and then apply for the role. Shockingly, these candidates do not think they will be found out.
- Applying for any role with “Project” in the title – this can be from Project Administrator paying £20k to Head of Projects paying £80k. There is a huge difference in requirements and skills required for these roles and by applying for roles at polar opposites of the scale you are demonstrating you do not read the adverts or you simply do not understand the roles – either way, it’s a quick route to being completely discarded for any role by that recruiter.
- Sending in an application for a Project Manager role when describing yourself as anything other than a PM and the cover letter even states you are applying for a completely different role. Attention to detail?
- Sending an email to apply for a role without attaching your CV and inviting the recruiter to call you to discuss. Unfortunately, you are highly unlikely to get that call – recruiters tend to have a long list of applications and will be managing more than one role, they need to see your CV first in order to decide whether you have the correct skill set for their role.
- Sending an application and 5 minutes later calling the recruiter to understand if you will be put forward for a role. Slow down! Give it at least a few hours before you chase up for that kind of feedback, it is OK to call and check the email has been received earlier though.
- Calling before applying and being rude to the receptionist – yes it has happened several times over, on occasions it was the MD answering the call. Everyone deserves to be treated pleasantly and you just don’t know who you are speaking with so be polite as rudeness is reported to the recruiter. First impressions last!
- Faxing your CV to the recruiter – this is not a good idea, faxes get lost in piles of invoices etc and the quality of the print is not ideal. Keep to emailing electronic copies; it’s quicker, cleaner and more cost effective for you. Plus, in a world where we email a lot for work – demonstrating your ability and willingness to do so is expected.
- Stating your family and their education etc – don’t do it, the CV is about you and although it is fantastic that you have a son aged 15 currently taking his GCSEs and a daughter currently studying for a journalism degree at university; they are not you! Keep the CV professional and solely about you and your work (and of course hobbies).
First impressions really do last; so no matter how frustrated or fed up of applying for roles you are – make sure each application is a good one. You may not be quite right for that role in the recruiters’ eyes but you will keep in their mind for future applications if you are professional and your CV is good. For advice on applications and a free CV review make contact today: www.thecvrighter.co.uk our CV review is free of charge with no obligation to take up our services.
Whatever situation you are in – whether you are unemployed, between contracts or just ready to make a move from your current role, the recruitment process can be incredibly frustrating. Searching for roles, applying for them and then waiting to see if you are blessed with any kind of response from the employer or recruiter and when chasing up applications being told you are one of dozens of applications blah blah blah. It is a bit soul destroying, even for the most motivated and upbeat job seeker. So what can you do to ensure you keep motivated and a sense of humour during this period?
Here are a few tips:
- Don’t be so hard on yourself – I know it’s easy to say, but it’s true. There is a reason you are not shortlisted for some roles, a good hiring manager or recruiter will be looking for specifics in your CV and once they have met their shortlist needs they discard other applications. So it isn’t always just about the best CV, it’s the best CVs getting in there first.
- Talk to people – whether it’s the recruiters, HR staff or even people in your network who currently work at the organisation. Understand what is going on behind the scenes. As we are currently going into holiday season, applications may be sat on the desk of someone who is away for 2 weeks and will have a back log of work when they return. This could be the “black hole” you feel you have gone into.
- Call a friend – cliché I know but, talking to someone about how the process is going will help bring you back to normality. I have often bounced ideas off virtual work buddies – we work in different fields but all have an appreciation of what we do and can sympathise with each other’s situations. Bringing the sense of humour back is important.
- Keep going – don’t pin your hopes on a couple of roles, you may be hearing all the right noises after making your application but for whatever reason, roles do go on hold and can be withdrawn. Make sure you keep plenty of irons in the fire, the worst which can happen is you end up with a few interviews (better for practice anyway) and hopefully, multiple job offers.
As project professionals, you are well used to good planning (or should be) – make sure you plan your recruitment activities and keep up momentum. By keeping to a structured format of applications you will feel more in control of the situation and will free up time for other activities – keeping sane means timeout too!
For further advice and a free CV review – get in touch: www.thecvrighter.co.uk
Applying for jobs can become tiresome especially when there is little to no response to applications made and job adverts are less than inspiring, I’ve even spoken to techie IT PMs who have set up software to apply on their behalf – which does seem a bit extreme and has proven embarrassing for them when I have called them about a role they didn’t know they’d applied for. I have spoken with candidates who have applied for jobs in excess of 20 per week – trust me, that is too many. And I have also spoken to those who do not apply for any roles yet always secure interviews for roles relevant to their experience.
What is the right way? Well there are lots of right ways as much as there are lots of wrong ways – the most important way, is the one which suits your lifestyle and schedule most. If you are between contracts or unemployed, then I recommend all the below. However if you are currently in employment and not in a rush to “jump ship” then I would pick and choose which work for you best. Remember, if you are working in a secure area and cannot take calls during the day – you need to ensure you are communicating this in applications / on your CV and you should also look to set aside time where you can speak with recruiters’ etc. such as taking lunch breaks off site or agreeing to take calls prior to work or after hours.
Here are some ideas to ease the search for that next new role:
- Set up searches to do the trawling for you – most job websites will have a search engine which you can set to run daily / weekly and email you the results. The key to success for this type of search is to try a few keywords and see what the searches bring back to you. If you have a niche skill which you would like to play on, then you may only need to put this skill as a keyword such as Primavera etc. However using keywords such as “project manager” for a London location will return a rather large list of roles, so try to get the balance right by using keywords closely matched to your skill-set / industry / sector etc. Once you have your list of roles emailed to you, you need to go through each role and discard all the roles which are clearly not for you. By filtering down your list to a small manageable list of jobs, you are cutting down the disappointment of rejection and also cutting down your workload to send your applications to. Track your applications (which should be easy to do if there are only 3 or 4 per week) and request feedback for rejections, this should assist you in understanding whether your CV is saying the right things.
- Market yourself – Gain a review of your CV to understand if it is working for you, once you are confident it is, load it on the job websites and wait for the recruiters and employers to come to you. If your CV is good – they will! If you are under confident or you have tried this method and it hasn’t worked for you, seek advice from a professional CV writer who specialises in your field.
As part of one of our services – The CV Righter can assist you with getting started on applications and show you where to look etc. For a free CV review contact us: www.thecvrighter.co.uk