Why People Give Crap Advice To Job Seekers
Whenever you look for advice on how to get a better job or improve your CV, you always get a bunch of crap ‘how to’s which tell you things like ‘spell check your CV’, ‘network’, and ‘don’t use the same cover letter for very application’. Complete no-brainers.
You don’t need to listen to me go on about this, Ramit Sethi doesn’t hold back on dissing and discrediting advice. But think twice before getting started on his stuff as you may suddenly find you’ve spent a lot of money in his products. I mean invested…
My current work in recruiting has led me to understand why people think bullet-point lists of no brainer advice will suffice for job seekers, it’s because loads applicants really shoot themselves in the foot. On a percentage basis, it does make the no-brainer lists look the the single most helpful solution to reducing unemployment figures.
Let me add that I’ve been working on recruiting under 25s who haven’t been to uni, but judging by the fact that so many students and graduates have applied to something that clearly states it’s not for graduates or students, I don’t think the 3 years of further education makes much difference in the common sense department.
Here’s my list of suggestions for (young) people applying for opportunities:
- Don’t tell me your twitter if it’s drug-themed.
- Don’t tell me your twitter if half your tweets contain the word ‘bitches’
- If your email address contain suggestions of illegal or non-mainstream activities, open a new one.
- And you might want to use a different email address if your porn-laden tumbler is linked to you current one.
- If you do have a blog/twitter full of swearing, porn and drugs, you might want to not use your full name on them.
- Speaking of full names, you might want to tell me your surname when applying.
- If you’re applying for something relating to social media, don’t write N/A in questions about your use of it.
- If there are only 10 questions, it’s not going to help you to write ‘N/A’ in a ‘what’s your favourite…’ question.
- And don’t say ‘I applied because I fit the criteria’. Come on.
- Don’t tell me you’re punctual, reliable or hard working, those aren’t selling points, they’re expected.
- If you’re going to cut and paste something from your CV, at least change the font so it matches the rest of your message so it’s not so glaringly obvious you spent 20 seconds on it.
- Please don’t use textspeak in your cover email.
- Or expletives.
- And if an application ‘will take about half an hour’, please write more than 2 sentences.
See, looks lame, but there’d be more people on the short list if people took heed of lame advice.
I’m not mocking, there’s no doubt in my mind that no doubt that all of these crimes are regularly committed by those among us sporting a few more wrinkles. Maybe not the ones about txt speak, but 6-11 certainly.
It would be easy to say that we’re getting quite a few emails from people who haven’t considered the above points because I’m basically targeting NEETs, but the crap applications aren’t crap because of the awkward use of business terminology of literacy issues, but because the writer clearly thought that just by chucking in a half-arsed application they’d be in with a shot.
All this said, there’s a clear correlation between the quality of application and source of application, at least in England. 90% of surname-less half-arsed applications are coming directly from the site, and 80% of the really careful and attentive applications are coming from applicants who have been referred directly to us by a person or organisation (part of my community-building based strategy). The former surprises me - I’d have thought that the digital natives generation wouldn’t see a website application as informal or untrustworthy, but that’s the impression I’m getting.
If you’re wondering why I said ‘at least in England’, it’s because we got mentioned on a page on the Russian language social network vk.com with 150k subscribers, and for a while got 70% of our web traffic from there, and 30 or so applicants from places like Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Kazakstan. The majority of those sadly ineligible applications were really good, showing passion and wit, and even an infographic CV. I’m left with the impression that the former soviet union is a hotbed of creativity.
Back to our own applicants, the funny thing is that we’ve been quite torn about some of those who’ve committed faux pas with their online footprint. Some of the very unsavoury blogs and twitter feeds demonstrate the most adept use of social media and awareness of design. Raw talent, very raw.