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WHY are you the right person for that job? Is it obvious? Or is it only obvious to you?

There are people out there who apply for virtually every job we handle and never get an interview. There are others who have only ever applied for one and got it.

Why is that? Well it’s hard to tell, but there are obviously those who are, shall we say, less self-aware than others and who do not properly read job adverts. They think that the more applications they make the greater their chance of securing a job.

It doesn’t work like that. Recruitment consultants, hiring managers and HR managers are on the receiving end of large numbers of applications every day. Some stand out and many, well, let’s just say they don’t.

A client of ours became our client after handling a particularly time-consuming piece of recruitment himself. As is so often not the case, he didn’t suffer from lack of applicants. In fact, that was half the problem – he had too many applicants. “They all need acknowledging and replying to and then some poor soul has to go through them all as well as fielding all the enquiries and chasers. Then you have to send out rejections and face a barrage of complaints from people.”

“The huge irony is that the complaints often contained more information about why the person considered themselves suitable than the original applications.”

And that’s the whole point of this article. Usually, you get only one chance when applying for a job and it’s the people who clearly really want a job that make the most effort and who stand out from the other applications.

It sounds obvious but the first stage is to read the job advert or job specification, if there is one, and really focus on what it says. Many of the words may sound throwaway and you may feel you have seen it all before but, remember, the great majority of employers put time into drafting their job adverts and they are hoping that applications will address each of the points raised in the advert. And, if you don’t have a particular skill or experience in a particular field, then say so, but also say what you do have that you think compensates for it.

A final word of advice and this applies to interviews as well as to the original application. Employers look for evidence. Evidence that you have done a particular job or task but, more importantly, evidence that you can do the job and do it well. The only way they can judge what you can bring to the table is to look at your past achievements. So many CVs and job applications provide no evidence beyond what people have done. Don’t forget, the fact that you’ve done something in the past doesn’t mean you were any good at it. So, where you were responsible(!), give examples of costs saved, customers won, profit growth, staff hired, processes improved, products introduced, commissions produced, vessels bought and sold …and so on.

To summarise, when applying for a job:

  • read the advert carefully
  • be realistic, especially if the advert clearly states that something is a must-have
  • address each of the requirements included in the advert
  • prove that you can do something by giving examples of your past achievements

And, get the spelling and grammar right!

(And, yes, you can begin a sentence with “and”)

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