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Our top 5 mistakes candidates make

By Scott Van Heurck - 20 Apr, 2017

We thought we would share a few insights into the things we hear, see or just purely frustrate us as recruiters. While many candidates think they have it covered, here is a list of the top 5 mistakes still being made in the application process.

1. Cover Letters – Let’s get straight onto this one and just say, 99.9% of the time they just don’t get opened let alone read for more than 30 seconds. There are circumstances that require cover letters. Some advertisements will request one for certain points to be addressed. Sometimes this is simply a screening process for recruiters but there are limited times when it is required. If they are required then don’t take it as an opportunity to rewrite the resume or make an attempt at writing an award-winning novel. The cover letter needs to be concise and to the point……. or forget it!

2. Resumes – There are hundreds of tips out there on resume writing and many differing opinions. Something we rarely see in the resume is explanations given for some of the career decisions along the journey. We frequently hear of the frustration of not receiving an interview after applying and having the “perfect” experience for the job. A lot of this can be put down to not detailing the “why decisions” within the resume. For example, candidates must include the reasons why they moved jobs and took the new opportunity, why they chopped around for two years with multiple positions, why they ended up in that specific position, why they took the promotion within the company changing direction. There are lots of valid reasons for these types of questions and resumes need to spell it out rather than waiting for that elusive invitation to an interview to explain further.

3. Education – While on resumes above we should point out that it is important to include a list of key education achievements. This does not necessarily need to be just the last education but should be relevant to your career path or the establishment of your employment opportunities at the beginning of your career. One answer to a question recruiters may ask in an interview, “one major achievement in your career to date” is often “completing my degree” . Whilst we totally agree with this, including your place or even “places” of Kindergarten is not necessary.

4. Following up – the follow up phone call can be a good idea but it is not something we think should be done when you push the send button on your application email. Recruiters and Human Resource Managers are only human too and may have a large number of applications to process. Normally when a job is first opened they are knee deep in the search and screening process. Generally online applications reduce substantially after 5-6 days so rather than calling on day 1, we suggest leaving the follow up phone call to 7-10 days after the applications were sent or opened.

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5. The “serial applier” is not a good look when trying to establish a foot in the door with a new prospective employer. Most organisations have advanced applicate tracking software that keeps an eye on applications and even stores resumes, including previous versions and also the number of applications made. While there are many candidates with multi skills we suggest it is not a good look to have made applications for the Concreter, Environmental Scientist, Financial Controller, Diesel Mechanic, Site Safety Officer and Personal Assistant to the CEO all at the same organisation!

Topics: General Recruitment

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