Alongside the frustration you may be feeling at the lack of response you are getting to your applications are the frustrations of the employers to the quality of the applications they receive. It’s a two way street. Here’s some feedback from an employer I’ve been working with about the quality of cover letters he’s recently had through:
- No covering letter attached at all when it was specifically requested in the job ad
- The use of a standard cover letter that had not been tailored to this role…indeed one applicant forgot to remove detail from a previous application for another post they had applied to
- No evidence they had Continue reading
There are certain sources out there that would have you believe that careers services are as useful as chocolate teapots. Thought I’d share a bit of feedback I got recently which might challenge that. Unsolicited but very nice to receive:
The job hunt’s going well so far, my CV’s generating a lot of attention and I’ve already lined up 8 interviews for a variety of marketing based roles. Thanks so much for your help with it, it’s made such a difference.
Back in November 2009 I used the metaphor of a Beatle and a Soul legend to make the point that writing effective cover letters means talking not just about yourself and how you match the job role but also crucially about the company you are applying to and the industry they are part of. Fast forward 18 months or so and low and behold, candidates are still falling short in this area.
How do I know? Well, a recent report from the Association of Graduate Recruiters Financial Services Focus Group that contains big name employers of graduates that are in the financial services sector states that when it comes to application quality, “the most likely topics that [candidates] fail on are career motivation (e.g. Why company X or Why career Y)“.
Here’s a real opportunity for you. Get these bits right and you’ve a chance to leap frog that long queue of candidates.
I was speaking to an employer (Neil Wright of TensCare) last week who’d recently taken on a graduate. They had some very interesting observations about what had made it difficult for them in finding that grad. Why is that bad news for the bad news bear? Well, by taking on board and acting on the following feedback you are going to be a lot closer to leaving that list of 20% and finding employment. Because half the equation will potentially be a lack of appropriate jobs. The other half will be a failure of those in that 20% to make quality applications:
- Within your cover letter refer specifically to the job you are applying to. This will reassure the employer who may have advertised a number of different jobs. Whatever you do avoid Continue reading
The english language is as simple as it is complex. And when we apply for jobs something comes over us. I read it all the time. We veer from the simple right over to the complex. We use words we’d never normally use. We write in a way we’d never talk. We complicate things. Why, I don’t know. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a class in either high school or university in how to do this. It’s one of those strange unspoken things.
But the world of work is more straight forward than that. When your line manager wants a progress report from you they want you Continue reading
So this morning I bounced out of bed, created a wonderful breakfast, selected an eye catching shirt and tie combination, excelled in my choice of route to work (god bless half term), actively sought to answer my early morning emails and then sat down with a coffee because after all that I was a bit knackered. Were you a bit knackered by the time you’d finished reading it?
It’s all the ‘active‘ words, you see. Which in many sources you’re advised to use in your cvs and applications. And I agree, they serve an important purpose. But see what happens when Continue reading
Get ready for 46 examples of how not to write. As well as hopefully being a welcome short diversion from your job hunting I’m sure it will hammer home to you the importance of getting your messages right. If you’re unsure quite where those apostrophes should go time to try and find out. Not only are your job applications your first chance to create the right impression with someone you’ve never met it could also be the last chance you get.
I’ve just read a job description that lists 30 skills/aptitudes. That’s 30 things you might be thinking they need. 30 things you may well feel you have to cover in your 1 page cover letter and 2 page cv. Anyone would struggle to be concise and targeted enough to reply effectively to this job description in such a limited space.
Let me suggest a couple of things if you’re faced with such a Continue reading
Just something I read on a cv recently. An acceptable comment. Good to see some reflection not just on the event itself but what the outcome was. However it still left me wanting more. What quantitative evidence could they have added to help the reader get a sense of what that success looked like?
In this week’s Job of the Week there’s a need for MS Excel skills. Skills in Powerpoint are desirable as well. I bet large sums of money that those applying for this job will write “MS Excel” and/or “Powerpoint” in their cv and leave it at that. Full stop.
Promise me one thing though. Then add a Continue reading