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Top Tips for applicants to read job specs successfully…

Top Tips for applicants to read job specs successfully..An ‘Insiders’ Guide….

This is a real bug bearer of mine!! Picture the scene; 

Man – aged 52, complains on the radio that he has made 124 job applications (he has all the applications that he made) and that he has not been shortlisted for interview. The complaint is that he was a Company Director and the jobs that he has applied for were a lot lower in grade, or experience required, than he had. Cries of Age Discrimination can be heard, “It’s a disgrace” the radio listeners shout….

Young Graduate, she studied Business Studies, has written into the local papers, she has made 318 job applications, only heard back from 13, and only got two interviews. “What’s the point” the graduate cries, why did I bother going to University….“I’m discriminated against because I don’t have practical work experience – whats the point?…..

Well the point is – as a Recruiter these stories often filled me with frustration, because the reality is, it’s not how many jobs that you apply for – it’s what you do with your application, in terms of understanding the job specifications, the criteria required and the attributes they are looking for. Too often we hear of these horror stories – but often (not all the time) the truth is, the applicant is either deluded, ignorant on how to apply for jobs, or just has not met the criteria the job was looking for.

The Graduate can apply for as many Office Manager jobs as she likes – she is not likely to get an interview, because she does not have management or much office experience….The Company Director can apply for as many Sales & Marketing roles as he likes – but unless he demonstrates he has proven ability in sales – he is not going anywhere….

With this in mind, please see below some honest and basic top tips on how you can read job specs more successfully – and at least give yourself a chance in your job hunt…

1. Take your time. Apply. Apply. Apply. Apply. Apply. The problem with the internet is that it makes things a little too easy. You go on a job-site and type in your location – and off you go. Apply. Apply. Apply. However – have you ever thought that you should take a little time first to see if you actually are applicable for the job? Often applicants often think if they apply for 10, they will hear back from at least 1, but this is not often true. Take your time to apply for each job. As a recruiter, you learn to read which applicants have bothered to do more than the minimum. Even if someone does not meet all the criteria for a job, you are more likely to read someone’s CV if they have taken the time to 1/Tailor their CV. 2/ Include a covering letter. 3/ follow-up on their application. 4/ and most importantly read the job spec and tried to highlight on their CV where they have the skills, experience and education required for the job….

2. Which leads me to…..Understand the SKILLS, EXPERIENCES and EDUCATION required for the job. Place yourself in the position of the recruiter / employer. Take a look at the job spec that is in front of you. What are they looking for? Write down on one side of a piece of paper all the criteria – the ‘essentials’ and ‘ideals’. On the other side of the page, take the time to think about how you can meet this criteria – if at all.  If you meet 75% of the essentials, still apply – even in this job market, getting an applicant who is a 100% match is not easy. Can you try to make yourself the 100% candidate by also matching yourself up against the ‘ideals’ and adding something extra to the mix?

However if you can only honestly say you match 10% to the essentials – be honest with yourself. Is it no wonder that your CV does not go too much further than the ‘no’ box on the employers desk?

Check out tips 3-5 on page 2…..


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2 Responses to “Top Tips for applicants to read job specs successfully…”

  1. I agree with the points raised in this article, to which I would add the story of the 54-year old ex-marketing manager who complains that he’s sent out 500 applications and only had three interviews in the past 18 months. He’s doing something wrong.

    If what you’re doing isn’t working, change it! Over 50s often have to set their sights lower in terms of position and pay level (or transfer their skills to another role or sector, often with an SME); younger workers need to be certain they actually have the qualifications. As a suggestion, research a company thoroughly before applying and tailor each CV or application specifically to the role and that company.

    One more thing: have passion for the enterprise, whatever it is.

    Posted by Robin McKay Bell | February 7, 2012, 12:20 pm
    • There is often a reason behind headline stories like the one you mention above – training and confidence and understanding what someone is doing wrong is often key – cheers Robin your feedback and comments are really appreciated and chat soon


      Posted by theemployable | February 7, 2012, 12:41 pm

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