You are a zealous job seeker, always scouring job sites for vacancies. You bookmark all positions that match your criteria then later send job applications with the hope that at least one employer will find your application worthwhile. You wait for a call, or a regret email.
After a few weeks of routine you forget about it and continue scouring jobsites for more listings. The sad reality is that most companies have stopped sending regret messages to unsuccessful candidates making applicants anxious and frustrated in their job search efforts. Some even wonder whether their applications are received at all, or whether they get lost in a black hole.
To get more clarity on this, here are a few pointers you should know;
- You might not be qualified
The job advert listed in the qualifications section that they needed someone with 4 years’ experience. Your experience in the field is under a year. What are the odds of you getting call? The employer needs someone who can do the job and they will select the candidate closest to their ideal profile. It is business, nothing personal.
What to do: To avoid constant disappointment, only send job applications for positions you have the qualifications for. Constantly seek growth within your current growth whether in terms of training, academic progression or experience. It makes your future applications more fruitful and gives you a competitive edge. If you lack experience, seek internship positions that will expose you to the market for experience. You can even volunteer where internships or entry-level jobs are not forthcoming.
- You need to understand the hiring funnel
The supply and demand dynamics of the job market are never proportional. The higher the job level, the lower the number of applications and vice versa. A single job online advert will be seen by over 1000 individuals, depending on the media used. Where more personal media is used like forwarded whatsapp messages, the number of those who see an advert shoots by 5 to 7 times more. Over 200 individuals will start the process of application, with half the number completing the process. Out of the possible 100 CV submitted, 75 will be filtered out due to lacking qualifications or experience. Out of the 25 CVs that a human resource professional will look at, 4-6 individuals will be called for an interview. The list will go down to at most 3 being called for the final interview and 1 individual being offered the job. (Talent Function Group LLC)
What to do: The only way to get that interview session is ensure your CV stands out of the enormous competition.
- Your CV is not keyword sensitive
The harsh reality is that human resource professionals never get to view most CVs. Technology has lessened the HR’s burden by providing systems that screen applications based on keywords. Each job advert has a job description and profile of the ideal candidate they are looking for. If you are the kind of candidate that sends one CV for all job applications, you will probably wait for that interview call a bit longer.
What to do: Read carefully through the job description in the job advert and use the same words in your CV and cover letter to emphasize on your suitability for the position. The same goes for CV formats and presentation. Make your CV easy to get all the important information at a glance. This will ensure that in case the human resource manager has a screening software, your CV gets to the shortlisting stage.
- Incomplete online profiles
Human resource professionals are aware that online profiles can be deceiving and therefore become wary of incomplete professional profiles. Your potential employer will look at your BrighterMonday profile and expect it to match with the CV you sent. Inconsistencies can cost you the interview opportunity. Other professional profiles like LinkedIn should also be up to date.
What to do: Be active in your professional circles. Employers are looking to hire self-motivated individuals who are hungry for growth. Be keen to update each career milestone on your online professional profiles to increase your relevance in the job market. At the same, time take care of your online presence to ensure it doesn’t jeopardize your chances of getting hired.
- Even with all things right, the odds might still be against you
As pessimistic as that sounds, it is true. With a working population like Kenya, where the demand from professionals graduating cannot be sated by the existing jobs, competition for existing jobs is stiff. Looking for a job becomes a job in itself. Human resource professionals stop looking through applications after they reach a certain number, unless they still haven’t found their ideal candidate.
What to do: Make your job search targeted. Conduct a research on your industry and identify companies you would like to work for. Make it your priority to go through job listings each day and immediately send targeted and customized CVs to companies you desire to work with. Sending early applications matter, so do not postpone sending applications for too long. Sometimes human resource managers decide to change an advert mid-process. It is wise to constantly check the job listing to see if anything has changed and reapply.