2020 has been a year like no other. In just a few months, we’ve gone from a buoyant employment market where people with skills and experience could pick and choose which job offers to accept, to a situation where we often have dozens or even hundreds of applications for a single role, often from people who are considerably over-qualified.
Reassuringly, according to the latest Jobs Outlook report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, whilst there is not a huge amount to celebrate - yet - confidence levels are now far higher than reported in the spring.
Despite everything that has happened, there are still great jobs out there, but competition is fierce, so you have to make sure you avoid common mistakes if you want to optimise your chances of success.
Avoid common mistakes when applying for jobs
Once you’ve got an interview, recruiters can help you prepare and offer advice and help.
But long before you get to that stage, you need to get through the job application process, and this is where sadly, many people make mistakes and throw away their chances of securing the best roles.
We know this from our own recent experience. Our team of expert recruiters in Basingstoke is growing and we have recently taken on two new consultants.
When we put out the ads, we received a good response from people with appropriate experience or skills - not surprisingly given we are offering great jobs working with a fantastic team.
We were pleased to receive 48 applications. But what was disappointing was that almost none of the candidates read the job description properly and followed the brief, making it very hard for us to decide who to invite for an interview.
And when we did get in touch with our very short shortlist, several candidates didn’t even call us back!
So if you are serious about finding that perfect new job, make sure you avoid these common mistakes:
MISTAKE #1 Not reading the job ad properly
Before you apply for a role, make sure you read the ad right to the end. If it specifies particular technical skills, specific vocational qualifications or having a driving license are required, you have to make sure you meet the criteria.
There are occasions when you can apply even if your skills aren’t an exact match, as long as you show that you’ve understood what’s needed and explain why you think you still fit the bill.
MISTAKE #2 Failing to follow the instructions on how to apply
If the job ad asks you to phone, don’t send a Facebook message. If it asks you to email, don’t phone. If it asks you to send a CV, don’t send an application without a CV attached, if it asks you to send a video, please make sure you do!
It’s amazing how often we see instances of people who have just not read a job ad properly. And if employers think you can’t follow a simple instruction on how to apply for a job, they will wonder about how self-sufficient you will be in the workplace.
MISTAKE #3 Skipping parts of the application form
When you’re applying for multiple jobs, you may well feel as if you are saying the same thing over and over again. However, your prospective employer doesn’t know this.
Each section on an application form is there for a reason, so make sure you don’t miss any sections out. If you don’t understand a particular question, ideally ask your recruitment consultant for help. If you don’t have the support of a professional consultant, think about who in your network might be able to help you review your application.
MISTAKE #4 Sending generic covering letters or emails
You may be applying for quite a few jobs right now, but don’t be tempted to cut and paste a covering email or letter from one application and use it for another.
Make sure covering letters or emails are always tailored to the job you’re applying for. Include information that shows that you have researched information about the company. Highlight specific areas of your experience or skillset that are most relevant to that job. If it’s a job you really want, make sure the prospective employer knows!
MISTAKE #5 Being dishonest or exaggerating
There are no circumstances where it is OK to lie in a job application. And even if the prospective employer doesn’t notice a porky or an exaggeration, you could easily catch yourself out if you forget the details of the story you've told.
The best approach is to be open and honest. If you have gaps in your career for example, don’t try to skate over these, explain why they’re there.
MISTAKE #6 Failing to respond if you’re contacted
This is an absolute job-hunters 101. If you are called by a recruitment consultancy or prospective employer, do make sure you call them back. You may have decided you don’t want the job you applied for, or have been offered something else, but if you don’t call back, you don’t actually know what’s on offer: it just could be the job of your dreams.
MISTAKE #7 Allowing careless errors in your covering letters or CVs
It goes without saying that you should spell-check anything you send out in connection with a job application, from a simple email to your whole CV. If you are completing forms online, it’s harder to spot typos, so do be rigorous and check as you go. If you are submitting documents, it is well worth asking your recruitment consultant or someone else to proof-read them for you.
As the old adage goes, ‘you only get one chance to make a first impression’, so do make sure you avoid making these errors.
For help, advice and information about the local job market in Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire, or to apply for one of the current vacancies, call us on 01256 334575 or email email@example.com