We live in a world where you can apply for virtually anything online, including friends, dates and jobs. The digital has now become the norm for social interaction, and whilst this allows for connections to be made across time zones and continents, it has led to the loss of an important skill – the art of verbal communication.
Whilst online job advertisements allow for an applicant to easily apply for a range of positions, the reality is that you will not always be able to hide behind a keyboard. At some stage, you will need to interview, and you will have to communicate why you are the best candidate for the job.
David West of Aspect Technical Recruitment sees the same quality of CV, generic cover letter and tertiary qualification on a day-to-day basis. As everyone has access to the same technology and tools, simply presenting yourself well on paper does not guarantee that you will stand out.
“My job is to sort through a huge amount of information and come up with a short list of candidates. Consequently, I often can review a CV and cover letter in less than 2 minutes. On paper it is easy to see candidates that present the same information – the difference comes when someone makes the effort to follow up an application with a phone call.”
Here are the steps to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward and making an impression when applying for a job:
- Ensure that your CV is up to date and up to scratch, and that you look professional. This means no grammar or spelling errors, no emojis or smiley faces, and most importantly ensuring that you send your CV and cover letter to the correct person. Make this initial point of contact personal – don’t simply send out a bulk, generic application.
- Leave it 48 hours. After this time, put the initial call in and ask to speak with the hiring manager, or to book a time to speak with them further. This allows you to ask if your application has been received, query whether any further information is required from you, and ask a specific question related to the job itself. Asking specific questions about the job shows that you have done your research and that you have an interest in the position.
- If (after this initial phone call) you find that your CV doesn’t articulate your experience or skills as well as it could, email the hiring manager or recruiter a summary based on the new information gathered. Often a Hiring Manager has specific requirements that can be further understood only through a conversation; consequently this phone call will allow you to give further details on your expertise. There is no need to re-do your CV or reapply, an email will suffice. Note: During this phase, you may find that you do not have the skills or experience that are required for the role, and should share this information with the recruiter. If this is the case, you can express your interest in being contacted in the future if another role becomes available. This demonstrates self-awareness and willingness to continue your training and personal growth. Many recruiters refer to their networks to find suitable applicants before even advertising roles – by being upfront and honest; you are more likely to be contacted for job prospects in the future.
- Ask what timeframe is expected for a response, and if they are comfortable with you contacting them via phone or email within 2 weeks for a follow up. This demonstrates that you are eager, without overwhelming the recruiter or hiring manager.
So when you’re next applying for a job, remember to break through the technology and create an emotional connection with the recruiter or HR manger. Make a good impression through an initial phone call, and place yourself in a position to be considered for the role.