Recently I advertised in a well known employment site and within about 48 hours had over 95 candidates.
I was quite surprised – not by the number of responses – but how little the candidates consider the job they are applying for.
At least half the candidates didn’t add a cover letter – even though my ad read please add cover letter.
Few candidates tried to address the actual job – seems they weren’t actually looking at the ad, rather just sent their standard resumé and, if lucky, with a fairly plain covering note saying “Find resumé attached”.
So I figured I’d share the experience, of this and the last few rounds, of the recruiting process as an insight to potential job seekers and at least offer my humble opinion.
Just This Employers View
I may not be indicative of all markets or styles but I figured I’d try to give some feedback to prospective job seekers and an insight into at least my process of hiring. I’ll also point out that I’m not working with the big end of town, this is the admin style position (sub $50k) – right smack bang where it’s most competitive!
I’ve split the process of hiring a new candidate into three sections:
- The Approach
- The Resumé
- The Interview
What are you Applying For?
Before you ever saw the ad up online, someone like me has given considered thought to the layout of the ad, how it’s worded, and made some assumptions about the hoped for candidate, their skills and experience.
As I know the position I’ve already thought about what sort of “apple” I want! So if you’re an “orange” gees you better stand out!
So How Do I Look?
Well with 90+ resumés arriving in the first few days I’ll set aside time to do a first pass. This is pretty much a skim, no more than a few minutes on each, and I’m actually looking for reasons to knock you out as quick as possible.
If you’re an average candidate and didn’t add a cover letter – GONE. If your cover letter has spelling errors all through it – GONE. If your resumé has gaps all through it or you’ve jumped job to job every 3 – 6 months – GONE.
After all, if you can’t follow explicit requests, can’t use a spell checker and have about as much loyalty as a non returning boomerang then I’ve got over 90 other resumés to view.
Tips for Job Seekers
So, some tips on what to look for when planning your approach:
- What are the keywords in the ad? From the role, recurring phrases, skills or assets, experience? Capture them in your cover letter and resumé
- Are there specific instructions? Have they asked to add a cover letter, photo, share an experience? Well do it! If you don’t you’ve already given a reason not to look.
- Do you know who you’re applying to? Whether the role, the company, the area. Do a little research and capture what you’ve found early to stand out – I’m talking the first paragraph of your cover letter – state that you’ve looked at the website, or have a keen interest in this business or industry.
The old question at the interview … what makes you stand out more than all the others?
Well you only get the chance to answer that if you make the cut – and to make the cut you better prepare your cover letter, your resumé and tailor your approach to the job advertised.
Want THE Job Not A Job
An employer wants to get the impression that you want THE job not just a job.
You need to come up with ways to stand out from the pack – to show that you are interested and deserve to make the first pass of even properly reading your resumé.
I’ve seen 100’s of resumés over the past 12 months and there are a number of ways to stand out.
Will cover that next time … The Resumé