In a recent survey of more than 5000 UK jobseekers by TotalJobs.com, it was found that 60% spend less than two hours working on each application following a job search, all inclusive of the time it takes to write a CV and covering letter, and to prepare for an interview.
What does this reveal? It seems that many of us think that when we're looking for a job, we have to cram in as many job applications as possible. The laws of probability determine that the more jobs we apply for, the more chance we'll have of getting one, right? What we don't realise is that it just doesn't work like that. An employer organisation will hire you because your application and interview were of a high quality. You made the effort to show that you have what that organisation values in terms of both capability and enthusiasm for the particular role. You won't get hired by any organisation just because you happened to apply to 99 others. That just doesn't make any sense!
We at Position Ignition don't believe in spending all of your jobseeking time slaving over your CV instead of getting out there and making connections, but if you're going to use a CV, put the time and effort in to ensure it actually helps you get a job. This does not mean that you have to write pages and pages. Target each CV towards each job vacancy, including only the information that the particular employer organisation will find relevant.
Your job cover letter also has to be targeted towards each different opening. Those of us who like to save time by mass-emailing a template and just changing the name of the addresses and company each time need to re-think our strategy.
One of the top 'don't dos' for job interviews is not to be underprepared, but we still all too often fall into the trap of thinking 'preparation' is just about wearing a nice suit and revising our answers to all the stock questions. But what about researching the company before you go in there? This gives you a feel for the values and direction of the organisation, which will help you target your answers in the interview. It will also give you fuel for questions to ask the interviewers. It may seem like it's just a formality when they ask if you have any questions, but asking intelligent, specific questions will show you're genuinely interested in the organisation and what it's about. Even if you don't believe any of this is true, the interviewers might just ask you straight out if you've researched the company.
So the message is loud and clear-if we focus more on targeted preparation and less on hitting self-imposed target numbers of job applications, we're more likely to be successful in our job search. If you'd like an objective evaluation of your job search methods, a personal review of your CV or some help with your interview preparation technique, take a look at our Job Search Programmes or contact us for more options and information.