By Dorcas Karuana,
“I have been applying for jobs without getting any invitation for an interview. What could be wrong?” This is one of my most frequently questions I get from by job seekers. Well many graduates apply jobs and never hear anything from employers, even when one perfectly meets the job requirements. This is devastating, but in many cases the problem is not you, the candidate, but with how you present or package yourself.
Branding yourself is very important while job searching. Employers will never tell you that the way you present yourself is what determines whether you get or lose the job. When you are buying something from the supermarket, am sure you choose the best packaged goods; in terms of package and presentation. The same case applies to employers; before they meet you in person, they judge you from your CV and cover letter. What kind of brand do these two present?
The cover letter should justify why you should be hired for the job at hand. Your CV is the gate pass to interviews therefore; it should click with hiring manager and make him or her want to meet you in person. It’s all about your approach. How you package and present yourself and to whom. It’s of no use for job seekers to perfectly present themselves to a wrong employer or even poorly presenting yourself to the right employer. This can easily make you never to get to any interview.
Some job seekers have a narrow focus while job searching where most suffer from Big Company Syndrome targeting only the big corporate companies; PwC, Safaricom, Google, Coca Cola, UN, World Bank, Central Bank, name them. This is a great and very ambitious goal but remember you are not alone. There are 1000s of people who would want to work for the same companies therefore the competition for vacant positions are very high. Job seekers ignore a number of other Small Medium Enterprises who are hiring in their field, yet they provide good hands on work experience and skills. When job searching, do not always go for well known names, but make a list of companies with jobs in your field and apply without being selective.
Secondly, most job seekers do not follow the job applications guidelines by a given employer. It’s not always good to follow the norm when applying jobs; sending blind emails to anyone, or photocopying documents and start tarmacking as you drop each application to the door step of the company. Respect employer’s guidelines to apply for jobs and apply with proper and complete documents. For instance, some do not receive hard copies; others give particular instructions on the job description, such as apply quoting your last salary on the subject, send your CV only, others will want you to fill tedious online application, do so. Don’t just email them your CV. You must always sell yourself with some dignity.
In addition, another common mistake is using one CV to apply for all jobs. Every job has its unique qualities that an employer is looking for and will hire the candidate who closely matches the requirements of the job. As such, you need to highlight the job related experience and education while applying for every jobs. Your cover letter and CV should be tailored to reflect these requirements. If you have past experience with the job, put it up front, not at the end. Also use key words they have used in job description. For instance an Accounting professional and you want to apply for a post of Finance job you better put more emphasis on finance. This may mean more work but it is worth
Every job application should have a customized cover letter. Most job seekers just send a CV without a cover letter. When giving someone special a gift, you put extra efforts to wrap it nicely. Your CV is like that precious gift and your cover letter is the wrapper. The cover letter should answer why you should be hired therefore it should entice and convince the employer that you are the one. It should make the hiring manager want to have a look at you CV
Grammatical mistakes in your email, cover letter or CV is a reason to deny you a job interview. Employers will look for any blunder to sieve the many job applicants while short listing so do not give them this opportunity. Misspelled words and grammatical mistakes overshadow everything you have mentioned in your CV. Therefore, Check! Check! and Check! for grammatical errors in your application email, CV and Cover. Always proof read your work before you send.
Most job seekers just send your CV and forget. They wait for the interview call that may never come. Always follow up with the hiring manager any job application you make. Sometimes they happen to misplace your CV or the emails never reaches them for some odd reason. You should always follow up and make sure they received your CV.
Lastly, as job seekers be flexible and use all job search tools. Remember for you to be extra-ordinary you got to do the extra-ordinary. Think out of the box. Don’t just reply on online job portals and classifieds. Sometimes companies have vacancies which they don’t advertise and networking comes hand in hand here. Others before the job is advertised, the internal people are asked to recommend someone and if you know someone then you are better off. Networking is the most effective job search strategy which accounts to 80% of the job gotten by most people.
Dorcas is a Human Resource Consultant at Corporate Staffing Services. Email: email@example.com.