The job market is tough and as important as it is to know how to apply for a job, it’s also important to know what not to do.
Potential employers may receive hundreds of CVs on a daily basis… and it’s tough to ensure your application stands out! Keep your CV out of the trash folder with these ‘don’ts’ from Angelique Robbertse, product and marketing manager at Job Mail.
So, next time you apply for a job, don’t…
Apply for jobs you aren’t qualified for
Most employers will have very specific requirements that candidates have to meet. If a job requires you to have five years’ experience in the hospitality industry, or a Code 10 drivers’ license, you shouldn’t apply for the position if you don’t meet the criteria.
Focus on the job that fits your existing skill set and experience. If you’d like to gain experience, why not scout the job ads looking for an internship in the industry you would like to work in? Many companies welcome graduates and may even be willing to make a contribution towards travelling costs.
Apply with a CV that’s not up to scratch
Potential employers are put off by bad grammar, SMS-type language and poor spelling – make sure that you thoroughly check your CV before applying. Pages and pages of certificates, supporting documents and referrals are not only unnecessary but cumbersome to read through. If the employer is interested, they’ll ask you for more information.
Apply with weak or biased references
Make sure that whoever you name as a reference will actually give you a positive review should a potential employer contact them for information. Written references rarely work – most recruiters prefer to speak to someone in person. Never give a family member, principal, pastor or friend as a reference – the employer will see them as being biased. A good reference is someone who was your direct superior at work – colleagues usually don’t qualify.
Apply without investigating the company first
Google has plenty of tips and tricks to help you ace an interview and can give you all the right answers – unfortunately, employers read those articles too, and are becoming a lot more discerning! I start off all interviews with a single question: ‘Tell me what you know about my company, and why you would like to work here?’
As a potential employer, there are certain answers that you definitely do not want to hear, including ‘I don’t know anything about the company’, ‘I applied for so many jobs I can’t remember’ or perhaps, worst of all, ‘My mother applied for me’. Do your research first. Find out whether or not you’ll fit into the company’s culture.
Complain or focus on the perks before you even start
Most interviewers end their discussion with a question-and-answer opportunity where candidates can make enquiries about any aspects of the job they aren’t clear about. Don’t use that time to dictate terms for working hours or leave: rather ask about the job, the company and your expectations. Show your passion and interest in the job and the people you’ll be working with.
Rephrase questions such as ‘How long before I get a promotion?’ by asking, ‘Does the company allow room for growth?’ Rather than asking ‘Can I get extra leave?’ ask whether or not the company allows for flexible work schedules. Your goal is as much to interview the company as they are interviewing you – use your opportunity to do so wisely.
The working world is a lot more casual than it was a few years ago and most employers don’t expect you to show up for an interview in your suit and tie, but you should still look neat. Cover up tattoos, remove piercings, and look as professional as you would like to be taken. While it’s great that your mom or friends support you, they shouldn’t tag along to interviews – it makes it seem as though you aren’t quite as independent as an employer might like!
And lastly, don’t get discouraged. It’s not unusual to get rejected a few times and every interview counts as great practice for the next one. Use your mobile phone or Internet connection to keep an eye on the job classifieds – the right job for you is right around the corner!