Becky Newton gives some advice on how to increase your chances when applying for jobs.
OK, your CV is updated, your suit is dry cleaned, you have your childcare organised and have cleared your diary for interviews, so why isn’t the phone ringing?
Like so many people, you may find the application process frustrating – you apply for lots of jobs, but never seem to hear back. This can lower your confidence and make you feel disheartened. You are not alone! But there are several things you can do to increase your chances of getting past the application stage to reach that all important interview.
There has been a monumental development in the recruitment industry over the last 4-5 years – social media now plays a key role in how people look for work and the way many organisations source staff. Depending on the industry you are looking to work in, it may be important that you have a presence on LinkedIn.
Create a profile that really shows off your achievements and build up your connections list. Many companies and recruiters use LinkedIn as a tool to search for candidates, so if you don’t have a well written profile, you could be missing out.
Facebook/Twitter – Lots of employers will look you up online before deciding whether or not to bring you in. Make sure you restrict who can see your profile and put up an appropriate profile picture – don’t have a picture of you looking worse for wear out on a Saturday night if you are applying for a teaching job! And be careful what you Tweet, remember every Tweet could be read by a future employer.
By monitoring relevant job boards, setting up alerts and following them on Twitter, you will find out about new vacancies as soon as they are advertised and can be one of the first to apply. This means that your CV will hopefully be looked at before the recruiter becomes overwhelmed with the amount of applications.
Research which agencies recruit for roles that match your experience. Only send them your CV if you have experience in the area they recruit for. But don’t apply for multiple jobs with the same agency/company if the jobs have completely different requirements, you need to show you are a credible candidate by applying for roles that closely match your skill set and experience.
When you apply for jobs advertised by both companies and agencies, it is a good idea to call them afterwards to check they received your application, that way you can be sure they have received your CV.
If you don’t hear back from a recruiter, it may be that the role was filled or they had so many applications they deleted a lot of them without looking at them. So don’t be disheartened! Send them your CV directly and apply for another suitable role when it is advertised.
So, great news, you have been contacted by an agency and they want to meet you! But hold on, this is just an agency registration isn’t it?…. Yes, but it is incredibly important that you treat the registration process like a formal job interview.
The recruiter you meet will be selling you to their clients. If they are impressed by you, they will let their clients know. If they have doubts about how you come across in an interview, they probably won’t put you forward.
It’s also a good idea to register with a few agencies in your field and make sure you keep in email contact every 3-4 weeks (more if you are looking for temp work) to keep you on their radar, don’t sit back and wait for them to call you.
If after following these tips you are still not getting to interview stage, it would be beneficial to look again at your CV, cover email/letter and how you are filling out application forms. But remember don’t wait for the phone to ring, by being proactive you can make it make it happen.
*Becky Newton owns BN Consulting where she provides CV advice and one to one consultations for people looking for work. For more information on how to use social media in your job search, how to write application forms, interview techniques and help in other areas of your job search, contact Becky on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bn-consulting.co.uk.