Waiting to hear back about a job application?
It’s an all-too-familiar routine when you are looking for a new role: find a great job advertisement, spend time carefully putting together the perfect cover letter, and tailor your CV to match the job description as closely as possible. You even spent half an hour drafting and redrafting a short accompanying email. Finally, after several stressful days, you press the send button – only to be met by weeks of silence from the potential employer.
So where are you going wrong?
Walk through the following steps and assure you manage to remember them for future jobs applications.
Are you applying for every job?
Recruiters and hiring managers, will quickly become frustrated by generic applications to numerous different roles by the same person. Take care to apply for specific and relevant roles, or you could be in danger of portraying yourself in a poor light.
Have you proofread your CV?
Mistakes in CVs are unfortunately still very prevalent, and hugely damaging to your chances of success.
- Spell Check: Always spell check your CV. Press F7 in Microsoft Word and you are good to go.
- Poor Format: Lots of text boxes can make the format too fussy.
- Jobs / Education: They should be in chronological order with the newest at the top.
- Pictures on CVs: These tend not to be well received.
- Too Long: Most roles receive high volumes of applications. Therefore, many CVs will be skimmed at first to look for relevant details and skills. If you bury all the important details in a lot of prose, it may be missed, and your CV put to one side. Keep it short, concise and relevant, large amounts of irrelevant information will weaken your application.
Account for any gaps: In case there are large gaps in your CV, if possible acknowledge and explain them, large unexplained gaps in employment can cause unease.
Have you picked up the phone?
Even if you have the skills, you can guarantee other applicants will too. Preference will be given to candidates whose CV’s stand out, or those who have built a relationship with the hiring manager or recruiter. If you do not call, you are just a piece of paper. Your personality will take you a long way in your application. It gives you a chance to find out more about the role, and sell yourself.
Also did you know, a huge number of jobs are never even advertised? Give them a call and ask about any other opportunities they may have.
Remember communication works both ways.
As your application progresses, you expect a certain level of professionalism from the recruiter / hiring manager, to keep you informed of interviews, updates and feedback. Quite rightly. This must be a two way process. Pulling out of an interview, and emailing them 20 minutes before with no clear reason (or worse, just not showing up), is a very poor reflection on your professionalism. If you no longer want to proceed with the process, be honest. Pick up the phone wherever possible and let them know. By maintaining a good relationship, you keep doors open for future opportunities.
The same goes for if you are offered a position. If they have asked for paperwork by a certain time, then have it ready. If you can’t, let them know. You do not want them to think they have made a mistake before you even start.
Start brushing up on your interview skills
According to Jobvite 2017 Recruiting Funnel Benchmark Report, only 1 in 6 candidates who applied for a job were asked for an interview. So, if you’re one of the lucky ones, don’t waste more time and start brushing your interview skills.
- Clichés: Try to avoid cliché phrases – “I’m a hardworking, team player, I give 110%”. Firstly these phrases are vastly overused, and therefore losing credibility. Secondly, this is nothing more than your opinion. Unless you can share references or examples of these attributes, these phrases are completely redundant.
- Details of your CV: Make sure you know all the details on your CV. Projects you worked on, tools or technologies you have used, successes and difficulties you faced along the way. It is likely that they will want to dig deeper into your experience, so make sure you have all the details to hand.
- Show some personality: If they are going to the effort to meet you for a face to face interview, it is likely they already believe you have many of the desired skills. Of course, you must reassure them that you do, but, they will also be taking great care to see if they want to work with you. Company culture is hugely important, so assessing whether they would work with you is a huge consideration.
- Two way conversation: It is easy to become daunted by interviews. Remember: it is just as much a chance for you to find out about them, as it is for them to find out about you. This is your opportunity to find out about the company, team and job, and see if it really is something you want to be doing. Most interviewers appreciate that you are taking the time to consider the role fully.
“I’m afraid you were unsuccessful” – Why?
It’s unlikely you are going to be successful in every interview. Sometimes there is nothing you can do – stronger candidates, more experience, timing, among others. Be sure to ask for feedback, so if there is anything you can do to improve your chances, you know what it is, and you can do something about it.