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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Job Hunting Tips

We've been interviewing at work this week for a Receptionist / Junior Admin Clerk position.  It's moments like these that I find myself extremely grateful for my Recruitment experience, though short - it makes life a lot easier when screening CV's and doing interviews!

We've had some rather interesting CV's and interviews this week, I thought I'd share them here, some (hopefully helpful) advice as what NOT to do when applying for a job...

1. If the job advertisement is in English, please don't send your CV in Afrikaans (or any other language). If you absolutely must to show that you're bilingual (even though this is tested later on), rather do a separate CV and attach it to the English copy, (provided that there is no CV page limit).

2. If one of the requirements is "own transport" - put this on your CV.  Don't just add "Code 08" - you're making a lot of extra work for the person reading your CV and showing that you don't read/understand the advert properly. If in doubt, add "Code 08 - own, reliable transport".  Easy.

3. Only include the High School and the year you matriculated. Sadly, no one is going to care what Primary School you went to or if you were the head Library Prefect.

4. Don't include copies of your ID, Matric Certificate marks, qualifications unless requested in the job advertisement.

5. Do include full dates (month and year),  job description and 'reason for leaving' for each relevant job. These will be asked, and there's no reason to leave them off - again, more work for the person reading your CV and a bad first impression.

6. One spelling mistake is ok, one word out of place is ok - more than that, it's showing how much pride you take in your CV, so how much pride will you have in your work? Your CV is likely to be tossed. The market is that tough and you need to bring your 'A' game from the beginning.

7. Profile pictures are great on CV's, it gives the person screening your CV more of an idea of who you are. Think very carefully when deciding what picture to use. We've seen some rather interesting ones, not a great first impression - this isn't Facebook.

8. Do include volunteer work, customer service work, etc in moderation, you can elaborate more when asked in the interview stage. It might not be relevant to the position you're applying for, but it's just one more piece of information that will show another side of you and perhaps set you aside from someone else.

9. Don't send your CV five times, it really was received the first time and believe it or not, this is very off putting and may limit your chances for an interview.

10.  When you're called for a telephonic screening, please try and sound enthusiastic. You're actually being interviewed, sounding distracted, irritated or casual is going to get your application eliminated. If you can't talk at that moment, ask the person calling if they can phone you back at a more convenient time. It's really no problem, as long as it's the same day.

11. Coming to an interview wearing any of the following is going to get you close to being scratched off the list without even setting foot in the interview room:
- Jeans
- Slops
- Short skirt / Revealing top
- No make-up (no effort?)
- T-shirt / holiday sundress

12. Nerves are normal during an interview, we all have them - but please if more than one person is interviewing you, make sure you make eye contact with ALL of them, not just the person asking the question - they are there for a reason and not including them won't count well in your favour.

13. Don't forget about that handshake in the beginning. Still judged..

14. Never, ever tell the interviewer what salary you're expecting in the interview. You should have done this on your CV.  Does it make sense to ask for R10 000 per month for a Junior Admin Clerk position? I don't think so...again, not reading the advert properly.

15. Never, ever send out your CV in bulk in the hopes that someone will discover it and go "Aha! This is just what we need". Believe me, people just don't have the time and your CV will be tossed.  
Address it to the right person (a bit of research - most companies have a website), apply for the position advertised and make sure you match the requirements.

It's a tough job market out there but if you really want the job and you're not just applying to anything you feel like, follow my advice and make it work.  It's all about how you present yourself and what you plan to do for the company to make them hiring you the best decision they ever made. Remember, you're going to be there 8 - 10 hours every day, so make sure it's something that you want to do. It doesn't need to be your passion (you can do painting or coaching after hours in your time), but you do need to like what you do. If you don't - it will show, and sadly there's a whole queue of people who are just waiting to apply for the same job.

Good luck to those looking for new jobs - these next two months are the best times to find them!

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