4 tips before you press 'apply'
Did you know that the average time an employer spends looking at a prospective CV is a mere 5-7 seconds?
Needless to say, you need to make sure yours stands out from the crowd and measures up to the requirements of the job specifications.
Job descriptions are designed to simultaneously entice people to apply and put off those who wouldn’t qualify for an interview. I regularly receive several applications for roles we are resourcing for, with applications that unfortunately do not make the mark. ‘Recent research has revealed that administrative roles attract the most competition among candidates, with an average of 57.3 applicants per job.’ From our experience, there’re usually a mere quarter of these applications that could be deemed potentially suitable for the role.
When you apply for jobs that overstretch your experiences or qualifications, at best, you’re not only wasting the hiring manager’s time – you’re also wasting your own. Life is too short; please don’t apply for every single job that takes your fancy in the hope of gaining one interview. By applying to specific adverts, you are targeting those which best suit your requirements and skills meaning you’re much more efficient.
Below are my 4 top tips for getting your CV noticed for the right roles:
Tip 1: Ask Yourself if You Could Do the Job
Read the job description thoroughly and only apply for the roles where you feel assured you could go into an interview and confidently share your experiences that match their requirements. For example, you shouldn’t apply for a job requiring someone to run a company’s website if you don’t have any of the technical skills and experiences required to do so.
If you don’t have the skills and qualifications the employer is seeking, then think twice about applying! Many job postings list the skill set required for the position and if you don’t have at least most of them you sadly won’t be considered.
“But what if I have some of the skills they’re looking for?” I hear you ask, well… if you find that you’ve got the majority of the skills but lack in a particular area it’s important to send a covering letter along with your CV that outlines how your current skills match the role and to outline that you’d be willing to upskill in the areas that you’re currently lacking.
Whilst I cannot guarantee that this will guarantee you an interview, it makes it clear to the interviewer that you have acknowledged your limitations and are willing to work hard to upskill to meet the role requirements.
Tip 2: Take time to consider why they’re asking for specific qualifications & experiences
Most employers require a minimum level of experience when seeking applicants as they feel that they’ll be necessary for a candidate to be successful in the role. That information should be clearly listed in the posting. For example, an employer may require a minimum number of years of experience or knowledge of certain software – they may even request that you have a specific qualification.
You’ll ideally need to meet those requirements to be chosen for an interview, however, if you feel that you are more than capable of fulfilling then you should still apply! It’ll be important for you to demonstrate that you have a relevant understanding in an area or a qualification that is an equivalent or similar to those listed. It’s important again to utilise a covering letter to outline how your current skills, experiences and qualifications make you capable of fulfilling the role.
Tip 3: Check if you can work the required schedule
If the job says that you’ll need access to your own vehicle, and you don’t have a license or that you need to be available for working weekends and this doesn’t work with your personal commitments – then don’t bother applying. These are clearly core expectations of the role. Don’t expect an employer to change those requirements for you. In most cases, it just won’t happen! Be sure that you have the flexibility to work the job schedule before you apply.
Secondly, investigate the company and what their culture is like. If they have a jam packed schedule of extra-curricular activities and there’s an expectation for you to take part in CSR related activities then be sure to ensure that you’re willing and able to commit to those. Try to align yourself to these expectations in your application and make sure it is highlighted on your CV.
Tip 4: Make sure your CV and Application are complete, accurate and up to date
After deciding that you are certainly a suitable candidate for this role, you now need to make that application. To get past the first post, make sure your CV is in tip top condition. Be precise, concise but not brief – stick to the facts and bullet point your duties and skills – long paragraphs are hard to digest at a glance. If you are applying for several roles within your field of expertise, make sure you tailor your application/CV to the role you’re applying for.
For example, if a description is looking mainly at your qualifications, make sure they are prominent on your CV. For further hints and tips on creating a winning CV click here.
You’ve now hit apply and your prospective employer has the infamous 5-7 seconds to whiz over your skills. Not heard anything back yet? My final tip would be to follow it up over the phone. Give that hiring manager or recruiter a call to ensure your application has landed safely – better still, you now have a forum to outline verbally why you’d make the ideal candidate for the role!
Ready – steady – apply!!