Have you ever applied for a job that you were confident you would be offered? Has it turned out that you weren’t the best fit for the role and didn’t get a call back?
We all find ourselves applying for multiple jobs throughout our lives. As we gain new skills and progress through our careers, we often seek new work that aligns with our abilities. However, the recruitment process is seldom simple, always competitive and often leaves people feeling frustrated or disappointed when they don’t get the position they wanted. After spending weeks or months looking for new work you can be left feeling disheartened and exhausted.
In today's employment climate, being successful for a role is no longer based on qualifications or experience alone. These days, employers are also looking for people who bring a mix of soft skills and cultural fit with the business.
1. Address every part of the role and criteria
Applying for new jobs is very exciting. Often we look at the company or advertised position and get caught up in the glamour of a new workplace and forget to address the requirements for that role. It’s important that you read every part of the description and criteria for a position. Look closely at the skills outlined and address each one of them in your application. If the ad specifies certain experience make sure you detail the work that you’ve done that relates to their wanted experience. Most employers will give a detailed description of essential skills for the position. To make sure you don’t miss anything, you can print, highlight and consider how you meet each of the criteria.
2. Present yourself as a cultural fit
Recruiters don’t just look for skills and experience in applicants. The best workplaces are made up of people that get along, are diverse and can work together. If you believe you are the right cultural fit, and that your personality will be beneficial to a company, really push that in your application. Where possible, highlight your enthusiasm, passion and disposition and how your character makes you stand out from other applicants. Do some research on the company through their social accounts to see what the atmosphere seems like and express how you’d fit into it or improve it.
3. Utilise your network
Word of mouth can be the strongest recommendation when it comes to landing your dream job. People trust the opinions of those that they know. If you have any contacts in the business, or know anyone somehow related to the role, reach out and leverage that connection. Getting the tick of approval and endorsement from someone that is trusted within the company is one of the best ways to shortlist your application. It also helps to build a connection to the role that sets you apart from the other applicants.
4. Take time with your application
First impressions always count, and the first professional impression you make starts with your application. Keep the format simple and easy to follow. While creative resumes are great, avoid using too many fonts, pictures, colours and patterns that will clutter the page and make the information less clear. Consider the applicant tracking system (ATS) format before submitting. Many large companies employ an ATS system which scans resumes for keywords and strikes out those that don’t have them. Considering this, try to include as many of the similar phrases and key criteria from the job description in your resume so that you’re not kicked out of the running before anyone even reads it. However, don’t make it seem as if you copied the job ad straight into your resume. Take the time to tailor your resume to fit the job in detail, and avoid using one generic application for multiple types of roles. Create a standard template that you can alter depending on the position.
5. Demonstrate hard and soft skills
Many people only promote their hard skills in job applications. We often think that employers only review someone’s qualifications, experience and hard-learned skills, but soft skills are equally as important in the perfect applicant. If you are excellent with certain professional tasks, but lack in the required social skills you won’t be the right fit for the business and will make working with anyone else difficult. Your character, attitudes and social dexterity is equally as important to the workforce and office environment to ensure your compatibility with the company and its people. Advertising yourself as a team player with a positive attitude, strong work ethic, fast problem-solving skills and passion for the industry will likely set you a few paces ahead of everyone else applying.
6. Reach out
Showing initiative in life is always going to get you places. Don’t wait around for your dream job to be advertised or a company you admire to need a new recruit. Seek out positions on your own. Finding a contact within a company or even expressing your interest in the business to someone at reception can open up opportunities. Ask to meet for a coffee to discuss the industry with someone from the business and start to create a connection. Often businesses that are expanding need extra help but don’t have anything advertised, so you’ll be ahead of the process by reaching out. Otherwise if they like you they may just create a new position, or keep your resume and contact details for when something becomes available. You need to be in charge of your career and create your own opportunities.