I've just been recruiting people for a number of roles and the same issues cropped up time and time again. If you want to get a job, you've got to get the basics right!
None of what I am about to say is new, and it's certainly not rocket science. That being said, people are still not getting the basics of job hunting right! So here we go, my top five tips for applying for a job based on my experience of being an employer.
1. Do exactly what the employer is asking for in the job advert
This means you must provide all the information the employer is asking for and in the format she is asking. So, if the employer wants you to put a pitch in two pages, do it! Don't write a pitch in six pages! If you are asked to answer selection criteria, for goodness sake, answer the selection criteria!
If you miss out an element of the application, for example do not address selection criteria, or do not follow formatting instructions, your application will not even be considered for short listing, especially if there are a large number of applications. If you cannot even get an application right, how will you perform in the job is what the employer will be thinking.
2. Give your future employer a KISS!
Not a real kiss, obviously - you'd don't want to miss out on an interview because the employer thinks you are weird. What I mean is: Keep It Simple Stupid. Write in plain English. Make sure you get all your grammar and spelling correct. Be concise.
This is particularly important with your CV. Employers do not have time to wade themselves through pages and pages of your CV. I have 40 years of career to talk about, so I focus on elements that are of particular relevance to my job application in my CV, and summarise very briefly my career history.
As an employer, I hate fancy and colourful CVs especially when they do not have the content to back them up. But obviously, if you're applying for a marketing job, a colourful CV might be totally appropriate. I would also advise that you do not put your photo on your CV because there is the potential to bias the employer against you.
3. Speak to the employer/recruiter/contact person before you submit your application
There are several advantages of speaking to the employer/contact person before you submit your application. You will be able find out more about the job which will help your application. It may also give you an advantage against the rest of the applicants - the employer will remember you and give you a "brownie point" for taking the time to ring up. Of course, that can also go against you if you make a bad impression over the phone, so be very polite and ask sensible questions.
4. Be prepared at your interview
Do your homework! Read up as much as you can about your future employer. Talk to others about the company/organisation. The more prepared you are, the easier you will find it to answer questions and the more interested in the job you will appear to the interviewer.
Have stories prepared to tell which demonstrate what your experience and skills are; how you go about doing your work; what you have achieved in your current and previous roles. Stories will back up your claims about how good you are.
Dress smartly, even if you are having a phone or online interview. It drives me mad when I see applicants dressed scruffy for a job interview. Makes me think you are not serious about the interview, and makes me doubt how serious you are about the job.
5. Follow up your interview with a 'thank you' call
It can feel humiliating to call up the employer after the interview, especially if you think you did badly. But again, it keeps you in the employer's consciousness. I interviewed a person a little while ago. I didn't give them the job but because they rang me to thank me and took my feedback very well, I thought of them when the next vacancy came up and give it to them.
I hope you find these tips useful. What are your top tips for getting a job?