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Ask Lawrence: How Well You Do Read The Requirements?

26 Sep 11:00 By Lawrence Akers

Lawrence Akers Job Ad

If I'm honest, as much as I would love every job ad to read like a 200 word piece of brilliance, it can often become quite challenging to come up with something that ignites a burning desire and resonates with the soul. I'm not a copywriter and my sense of humour can often be borderline inappropriate, which means that I have to slip on my 'professional' cap which can often be a little dry and predictable.

As much as I'd love to slip in a few sarcastic jokes or some dry wit in an attempt to channel my inner Oscar Wilde, it runs the risks of putting people off the job or, worse yet, putting the client off me!

Even with this in mind though, there is the desire there for the ad that I write to be concise, thorough and offer up as much information as what I may have available at that time and in a position to share. Here's an insight for you too people; if a recruitment agency is advertising a job for the client, they're not going to tell you who it is unless you're going to be a suitable match for the role and you've established a relationship with that consultant. That confidentiality and privacy is, after all, one of the key reasons why a company would go to a recruitment agency to help them find that perfect person. That might be a blog for another time though...

Back to my predictable yet practical job ads, they're written in a way that (hopefully) offers some valid reasons as to why this is going to be a good move for you and what the client requires to see in order for you to be considered for the role.

In the tradition of my past few blogs, this is where I get my cranky pants on.

Let me set the scene. I've been asked to find a Graphic Designer. The client has a very good idea what it is that they need to see for an applicant to be a potential shortlisted candidate. We are, after all, talking about a role that will involve the creation of visual material that is going to help build and communicate their business or campaign or brand. They'll want to SEE what you've done.

My job ads will often clearly state what we expect to see in your folio.

This is why it is so annoying when we're working through hundreds of applications to find that they've not included their folio. They may send a CV but even then it is just a list of where they've worked and some of the requirements. How do you know if a Graphic Designer is good at what they do? You look at their work, right? So you have to wonder why someone would apply for a position like Graphic Designer and not include their folio for consideration and/or list their online folio in their CV?

Now, this is just my complaint but this comes down to the fundamental fact that the job ad is much like a job brief and if the job ad asks for certain materials to be provided to be considered as an applicant and you're not providing that, it sends a strong message that you're not actually reading the job ad properly.

Trust me, this article isn't about applying for a position that you're not suited for; goodness knows that there are already more than enough posts published out there by recruiters who have used the written word to release this frustration. This is actually a step before this; this is simply not taking a moment to properly read the ad and to address each of the requirements listed within it that the recruiter or hiring manager might need to make a proper assessment.

There are some really simple things that you can do to work around this.

Firstly, if you have an online folio, make sure that it is listed in your CV. With that, before applying for a job, make sure that your online folio is still live and up to date. It isn't uncommon for me to click on a link and to discover that it is dead or no longer exists. It also sends a strong message that you're not across it.

Secondly, you can create a couple of versions of your CV - one with a folio attached and one without. This way, if the ad asks to see a folio, you can send the version that has it attached. Keep in mind that if you're applying for a position and they ask for a folio, you should be potentially tailoring that folio to that position so that it sends a strong, clear message to the recruiter / hiring manager / potential employer that you understand the kind of work that they do and you can produce this exciting work for them too. Being lazy with your applications can often come across as either you lacking the skills, lacking the experience or lacking the enthusiasm - and you're better than that, right?

I get that some work can be confidential too. There are some industries, such as the construction and infrastructure industries, where there are confidentiality clauses around the work which is going to make it harder to show it. Unfortunately, this is a challenge that you may need to set your creative mind towards in order to determine how you can show potential clients that you have the design skills they need to make impressive work.

To sum it all up before it spirals down into another rant that makes you think I should take annual leave, by all means, apply for jobs. If you're a match for the role, then please apply. Understand that the requirements listed as to what a recruiter / hiring manager needs to see is about ensuring that it is the best match possible and to help present you to the employer / decision maker in the best possible way so take a moment to stop, read, re-read and ensure that you provide everything that is requested.

By the way, did you notice the mistake in the subject line? ;)