Not getting to interview stage? TheEmployable’s Top Tips to change that…
In the last few years in particular, when working in commercial recruitment, we often spoke to candidates who said:
“ I’ve applied for loads of jobs and haven’t even had one interview.” They told stories of sending off sometimes hundreds of CVs and application forms and not even getting an acknowledgement , never mind a chance at an interview.
I’ve also read countless articles in the papers in the last year or so about how difficult the jobs market is and by way of illustration, they featured comments from people who were applying for everything and getting nothing.
Nobody, let alone us is going to deny that the jobs market is challenging at the moment – however there are some things that you can do to help improve your chances and hopefully in turn your job prospects. Here are our some questions you should ask yourself and our Top Tips…
Look carefully at the job advertisement. If the company has listed certain skills, qualifications or levels of experience as being mandatory and essential, if you don’t have those, your chances of getting to interview are either non-existent or at best minimal. The criteria is there for a reason an companies will generally always adhere to it. So if you are continually applying for jobs where you are not meeting the criteria requirements, then that could be why you aren’t getting interviews. So, start focusing on applying for jobs where you do meet the requirements.
If you do meet the minimum criteria and are still not getting an interview, it is time to look again at your CV and how you are filling out the application form. Look again at the job advertisement and see if you are clearly demonstrating on your CV all the relevant skills and experience that the employer is looking for. Remember, HR professionals and Recruitment Agencies alike are not mind readers – you may have the skills but if you don’t highlight and spell that out on your CV, they won’t know and are unlikely to consider you. Make sure that you look at the job ad and study what they are looking for and tailor your CV accordingly.
Have a look at some of our other tips for improving your CV here.
You may have spent hours, days, weeks even doing your CV and feel that it is pretty much perfect. But if it is not getting you interviews, then perhaps you need to look at it again. If you have 1 CV and you are sending it for every job you apply for without any success, then it could be time to think about changing it and perhaps doing some more versions of it. The thing is that your CV should be tailored to suit the job you are applying for. There is no point in simply having one generic CV that gets sent out every time. The personal touch can help. It could be a simple matter of changing the Personal Profile to highlight why this job / this market sector / this company is the one you really want. Just make sure that the CV you send suits the job applied for. Every time.
If for example you are applying for a graduate scheme and you know that there are only 2-3 places every year but that this is a really good employer, chances are there will be hundreds, perhaps thousands of other candidates applying too. Rather than being disheartened if you don’t get an interview, why not consider other ways of getting in to the company. See if there are entry level roles in other departments, rather than simply graduate schemes. If you can get your foot in the door and prove yourself when you’re there, that can be half the battle. If you have your heart set on working for this employer, find a way to get there.
Have you followed up on your application?
Once you send your application off, don’t just sit patiently waiting on the phone call, the email, the letter. Call the company or the recruitment agency and confirm they have received your CV.
This is especially important if you have sent it off quite close to the application closing date. This looks professional, lets the employer or agency know that you are serious about the job and of course informs you whether or not you need to post or email off another copy. You don’t need to go into a long winded conversation at this point, just a brief enquiry is all you need to do. When working in recruitment, I know that the candidates who made the follow up calls checking on applications were often the ones remembered most easily.
Finally, please remember that it is tough out there and it is competitive. Whilst these tips are not necessarily the panacea you need, they will hopefully go some way to improve your chances of getting to the next stage . The key thing is to put the effort in and try and do your best at every stage of the job hunting process and above all else, Stay Positive!