We’re approaching the time of year when a whole new wave of people will enter the job market and, despite the huge drop in unemployment, competition to find work is still fierce.
With school, college and university leavers about to take their first step into the real world alongside the million-odd others already on Jobseeker’s Allowance supposedly looking for work, every effort has to be made by applicants to make themselves stand out from the crowd.
Most of what they need to do is simple, but common sense is not that common in job seekers, as in other areas of life. My team in the recruitment department at Pimlico Plumbers are regularly pulling their hair out at the standard of applications and generally poor preparation of those that do get through to interview.
I’m pretty sure this is not confined solely to my business will generate hours of wasted time for firms up and down the land. I remember as a small business owner having to sift through sub-standard applications when I’d rather be building the business or actually “on the tools” earning a few quid.
Some 30 years later, the same frustrations are undoubtedly still being felt by entrepreneurs trying to create a workforce to fit their vision for their business.
Of course, this issue isn’t just about young people leaving education. In fact, I’d give some leeway to youngsters who have been let down by an education system geared up towards passing exams and not preparing them for the world of work, or indeed, what it takes to get into work. That said, experiencing the harsh realities of the jobs market will earn them a few gold stars from the university of life.
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But in general, this problem is wider than just young people. The feedback I get from my recruitment department is that it’s people of all ages and backgrounds who aren’t doing themselves any favours when it comes to trying to get a job.
We receive CVs from candidates containing incorrect spellings, poor layout and incorrect grammar, which is scandalous when you consider that the document is a personal advert that is supposed to sell candidates to potential employers.
Due to the state of some of the CVs that pop up in our recruitment department inbox I’m not surprised that one thing we are seeing less and less of these days are covering letters.
This is an essential part of an application, because not only does it give employers a bit more of an insight into applicants’ personalities, it also shows they are not lazy. It’s becoming increasingly common to receive a blank email with a CV attached. We’re not mind-readers; some don’t even include what role they are applying for.
That’s maybe because they are adopting a scatter-gun approach to job hunting. From an employers’ perspective that’s frustrating because we end up receiving irrelevant applications from people who haven’t done any research about the company or the jobs we have available.
Another constant mistake is at the job interview itself, and most importantly a failure to make a decent first impression. We’ve had people turn up in shorts and trainers for interviews. We’re looking for plumbers not marathon runners. Wearing a suit or at least and shirt and trousers, or skirt of course, is a must.
Time is money in business as we all know, so rather than continuing to moan about all this I got my recruitment department to come up with a “ten commandments” for applying to a job, which will be displayed on our website and social media pages. Anyone who wants a job with us who doesn’t follow them might as well not even bother clicking the send button on their email.
I’d encourage other businesses to do the same; it might just help shake up the job market for the benefit of everyone.
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