The average number of applicants per job rose in 2011 to 83, from 69 in 2010, 49 in 2009 and 31 in 2008, new figures published by the BBC claim.
Here at Elite Employee we are not so concerned with numbers, but with the amount of exceptionally good applicants for every role, and in reality, this number has, if anything slightly decreased.
What does this mean? – It means that with a little care and consideration, your chances of securing the right job for you are actually on the increase, but you need to take steps to stand out from the crowd and get noticed.
In this turbulent employment climate, we are hearing more and more about the increasing numbers of applicants for jobs in the UK. How to make sure you stand out from the crowd?
Here is a list of ten simple steps which will make a vast amount of difference to your job search from a Professional Recruiters perspective.
The catch? There isn’t one – have this on us:
1/ Don’t join the crowd, stand out from them: Out of the average 83 applicants for every job, we will see on average no more than 5 candidates who are actually suitable. When searching for jobs, it may get disheartening to send so many applications with no response, but are you reading the adverts properly or just clicking the ‘Apply’ button more often? Doing what everyone else is doing and applying for every job out there simply won’t work, so take time to understand what you are applying for and if you really could be the best candidate for that role.
2/ No one-size fits all: These days, if it isn’t on your CV, then you haven’t done it! With so many applicants for each job, recruiters and hiring managers alike need to be able to quickly decide if you are the right sort of person. Before applying for a job, take a note of the key points and key words used in the advert that apply to you and tailor your CV to the role. Nobody will read your CV in entirety, they will simply skim over to look for key words, so make sure they are in there for all to see. Essentially remember the key point: “Write the CV for the job you want, not for the job you have already got.”
3/ Write a covering letter: This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but we would recommend a cover note in email, explaining why you match the key points. When scanning though dozens of emails all for the same job, a recruiter or employer will be attracted by candidates whose emails are saying “Look at my attached CV, it’s the one for you!” – again, use a lot of key words and put them in bold type to make them stand out.
4/ Choose the right format: Use Word 2007 or better. Don’t send your CV in PDF format as it looks unprofessional and most importantly, whether it is on a job board or a recruiter’s database; we can’t always search for key words with PDF, meaning your CV may not come up. Always apply to jobs with your CV in Word, and if posting your CV to an internet job board, then this is almost essential.
5/ Follow up your applications: Once you have sent your CV to a recruiter, follow up with a phone call that day. Make sure it is seen. Faced with the prospect of having to call through dozens of applicants, most recruiters will welcome your call. If they can speak to you and send your CV straight away you might have saved them a good few hours, and you get in ahead of the game.
6/ Be contactable: Make sure that recruiters or employers know when you can be contacted, and have the right numbers and emails to do so. Check your messages regularly and respond to any calls straight away so that you don’t miss out. Likewise, check your emails and sort through them daily, including your Junk folder, just in case something has slipped through. Also, it often helps to tell us your availability for interview and employment beforehand, and if you have a holiday booked, let us know so that we can work around it. It isn’t just the best CV that gets the job, it is the best candidate, and the most important part of this is being there when we need you!
7/ Check the details: When you apply for a job, make sure you can commit to taking it. Ensure that you can travel the distance daily, that you can get time off for interview, and that there is nothing in the job description or advert that may get in the way, such as shifts or occasional stays away from home. Nothing is worse to a recruiter or employer than a candidate who can’t interview during working hours or who has an issue with intangibles of the job. If you are unsure ask!
8/ Keep a record: Keep a record of recruitment companies (and consultants) you have spoken to, jobs you have applied for and the details of each job you have sent your CV for. Follow up on each one. Sometimes turnaround times on jobs can be slower than expected, so remind people you are still out there and still interested.
9/ Use the Job Boards: Internet job boards are essential to helping you find your next job. We would advise that you put your CV on quite a few of them, including the large generic sites such as Jobsite or CV-Library, and then some more niche or industry specific boards too. Remember that these job boards search for key words, so add in as many as you can to attract the job you want. A good tip is to refresh or update your CV on job boards regularly as it will keep you at the top of any searches made by recruiters and employers.
10/ Get cyber: When you speak to a recruitment company or consultant who can help you, make sure you stay on their radar screen. Websites like Linked In, Facebook and Twitter are now excellent business tools and methods of communication. Most recruitment companies are on Twitter, many have Facebook pages and nearly all companies and recruitment consultants are on Linked In, so connect with companies and individuals and look for others who can help you. Linked In is particularly good, and you can use the list of jobs and descriptions to make an on-line CV out of your profile.
If applied consistently, you will soon see the results. Remember that job hunting in this market isn’t a case of just doing more than everybody else; it is about doing what your competition is not doing, and then following it through consistently.
It doesn’t take hundreds of applications to get the right job, it just takes one done the right way.