What would that be like? How could you buy property, get out of jail, take a chance, get ‘around the board’ without cash? Isn’t that what makes that little shoe, not to mention life, go around? Harlow, Duncker, Pink & Piff Not so, according to research. Notice I’m not saying new research? Research as far […]

Many student and graduates struggle to find work so if this has been your experience, you are not alone. The current job market for university students and graduates is difficult but ‘an inconvenient truth’ is that many applications are poorly prepared and miss-targeted. If all your job applications are being rejected, it’s time to audit your application technique and strategy.

A poorly presented application or one that appears ‘generic’ rather than ‘tailored’ to the job being applied for will almost certainly be automatically rejected. Inundated selectors look for easy ways to reduce the number of applications that will make it to their long-list – this is the pile of CV’s that they select to ‘read in detail’ with a view to creating a short-list of interview candidates. Employers rarely spend more than a few seconds looking at each application received so impact, quality and relevance should be the keys to your application strategy.

If your applications aren’t resulting in interview offers, is this genuinely the result of a shortage of jobs or is there a more obvious reason? Although there is no ‘one-way’ to prepare a job application, clearly the application should be attractively presented, well organised, address the job criteria and explain your motivation in applying for the position. The first page of the CV has a critical role to play as does the cover letter.  The employer is unlikely to look beyond the first page of your application unless that first page impresses.

Pre-application research matters. If you don’t really understand the role you are applying for and the organisation’s business, how can you present yourself convincingly enough to deserve an interview? Good quality research will help you to understand the role and the context, and decide whether this is a role that you could do well and enjoy; applying for a job that you have no chance of getting an interview for, wastes your time and the employer’s. In most instances when you apply for a job you should be confident that you can do most of the tasks involved. You should also have given consideration to any gaps in your skills and knowledge, and have potential remedies. If you are unable to meet any of the key criteria, it may be worth contacting the employer to find out what weighting the employer gives to these.

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Last night I went to the launch of some great research by Drs Carolyn Cordery and Karen Smith of the Faculty of Commerce and Administration. If you are interested in a career in the not for profit sector this will be useful to look at. Managers Matter: who manages New Zealand’s volunteers? (A full version […]