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Ask Lawrence: What one behaviour is costing people job opportunities?

16 Oct 11:00 By Lawrence Akers


The news might be telling you that we’re in a recession but right now it feels like there is opportunity to work for those looking.

Even at Creative Recruiters, we’re so much busier right now than what I would’ve personally expected for a recruitment agency in a recession.  

This is obviously a good thing.  Right now, what makes me happy is seeing more people working.

With that, there is one trend though that is beginning to creep up again.

It’s one that all recruiters dread and the reality is that this trend is born from laziness on the applicants' part.

This same trend is potentially holding people back from opportunities.

Curious?  Let me explain it to you this way.

I’ve used this metaphor before but it feels accurate and worth sharing again; if you’re advertising a job at the moment, it can feel like being the sole chip in the middle of a large field full of hungry seagulls.

The level of applications, people wanting ‘five minutes of your time to chat about the brief’ and countless calls can easily fill a day long before we’ve even had a chance to actually work on filling the role.

Every job listing at the moment is inevitably going to attract more applicants than what it would normally because we’re in a job short market.

It also means that every job is taking far longer to progress because there are so many more applications to work through.

What do you think would annoy someone who has a mountain of applications to work through?

You guessed it; when the person applying for the role seemingly has absolutely no experience that is relevant for the job.  

In fact, you would be surprised if they had even read the job ad.

This behaviour is purely driven out of feelings of fear, desperation and, in some cases, laziness.

I don’t want to appear heartless; I get that there are those out there who really do need a job right now however logic dictates that applying for something you have no experience in is not going to land you the job.

If anything, it clutters up inboxes and if you’re a ‘serial applier’, you water down your own personal brand with each application because people recognising you’re applying because you want any job and not because you are right for the job.

I’m not writing this to have a rant though.  Well, not entirely.

I’m hoping that as you read this, if you’re guilty of this behaviour, it makes you consider a better way forward and stop doing this behaviour which isn’t beneficially serving you.

If you’re lazy, then that is potentially worse.  

What I mean by that is that you’re simply flicking the exact same CV out to each and every job. 

When you’re doing that, you’re asking the hiring manager to make the job fit for you and not you taking the time to point out how you fit the job.

Essentially what they’re saying is, ‘I think I can do the job but I’m not going to give you all the information you need to come to that conclusion.’

Being realistic, if you’re a hiring manager and you have hundreds of applicants to work through, do you really think you’re going to phone everyone and say, ‘well, I see you’ve applied and you have been in the same industry for a while, why should I hire you?’  No one has time for that.

You need to take the time to make your application match or else you’ll be ruled out for someone who has taken the time.

You can easily increase your opportunity by doing these simple steps:

Be absolutely sure that you should be applying for the role.  If the ad says that they’re looking for someone with packaging experience and you have next to no experience in that area, then it probably isn’t going to be the right opportunity for you.
Be sure to bring a focus to where your experience matches by tailoring your application to the job brief.  If it is asking for packaging experience, tailor your CV to talk about the experience you have in this area.
If you are an 80% match, don’t overlook the 20% where you’re not - acknowledge it in your cover letter and, being solution focused, talk about the transferable skills that you have which you believe can compensate for where you’re lacking.

In short, don’t make the hiring manager have to guess if you’re right for the role.  

Instead, leave them with absolutely no doubt that you are capable of doing this job and that they need to pick up the phone NOW and call you.

Laziness and being vague is, frankly, costing you opportunities.  The reality is that you’re going to have better chances of securing a job if you only apply for the ones you are suitable for and you take the time to tailor each application so that it is a match for the job brief. 

It’s the small added effort that is going to show you’re serious, you care about the opportunity, and that you’re right for the role.