Are you sending tons of resumes on job ads but don’t even get an answer?Recruiters both in HR departments or recruitment agencies and search firms receive a large number of resumes every day, and we have to decide within 5-10 seconds if we call up the candidate or not.
The “Leitmotiv” of my job—professional recruitment—is to find similarities between the job and the applicant, the skills of the person in front of me and the job responsibilities.
Here are 5 ways to target your application so that you’re more likely to get an interview:
1. Only apply if you match 75% of the job ad.
This ratio will give you a) confidence to succeed in the job and b) enough room to grow, learn and stay motivated for the next years. 75% is not only a good indicator for the recruiter—who will weed out those candidates who fall short—but it is also important for your personal risk management: you want to be sure the next step will be the right one and you will stay and evolve within the new organisation, right?
2. Only apply if you cover 99% of the KO criteria.
When it says “fluent Bushman language is a must criterion,” this means that you cannot do the job unless you are fluent in Bushman language. Though you might apply when you give yourself a “very good,” do not do so if you only have basic knowledge. Be prepared that everything you put on your resume will be double-checked—and in 80% of the cases I correct the language level stated. I had candidates that put “fluent” on their resume, yet were not able to communicate at all in the stated language.
3. Do not apply when you are clearly over or under qualified.
If you read “7 years relevant experience,” you can be sure to get a negative response if you have 2 or 20 years of experience, as we consider that the job is either under or over your competencies or not in line with the salary range for this level. Though we understand that you might be willing to go down on salary and responsibilities if you are highly qualified, you might create an internal disequilibrium.
We might furthermore assume that stepping down in terms of responsibilities, title and salary as well as reporting to someone potentially less qualified than you is neither good for your morale nor for your career management and we would fear that you will not stay but continue looking for a “better” job. If you do not have the experience required and do not meet the 75% above, we might assume that you won’t make it.
4. Only apply when you are around.
You should live in the area where the job is located, or have a very good reason for applying from a different region. I get resumes from Australia for jobs in France. Though the credentials may be flawless, these candidate can unfortunately not be priority A as they cannot be in my office on Monday at 5 p.m. for a first interview and meet my client on Thursday.
Furthermore, moving to another city and leaving family and friends behind may sound easier than it actually is, and experience shows that in the end, we often hear, “I underestimated this. Sorry but I have to turn down the offer.” If this is true for different cities, it becomes even truer across borders, when a work permit is required. Unless you are a super-specialist, most employers will not be ready to engage themselves as they cannot be sure that you will really get the permit.
5. Only apply if your gut feeling is right.
I have candidates who tell me, “Yeah, I had a doubt and actually, I don’t like the industry.” Do not apply when you are not convinced of the job content, the industry or other parameters you cannot change. Choosing a new job is about where you want to spend 40-50 hours per week—ideally for the next years. A doubt at the beginning will most likely result in a refusal, from the candidate or the employer. This is like a hole in a boat when you leave the haven: do not think it will go well or there will be happy surprises—99 times out of 100, this will not happen.
We currently live in a difficult economic context with many candidates desperately looking for a new job. I agree that you should do a maximum to increase chances to find a new job. Yet, it is all about efficiency, so you want to increase the positive returns on your efforts.
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