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  string(8658) "Even in these grim economic times, I truly believe that there is a job out there for everyone. However, I also believe that this isn't always the job that people think they should be doing.

Having worked in recruitment in the UK between 2008 and 2012 (the years worst affected by the GFC), I saw hundreds, if not thousands of applications from people who just weren't suitable for the roles I was recruiting for.

However, that does not mean that they were bad people or that they shouldn't be employed.

People are always asking why we can’t consider them for a position and they often think it’s a direct insult that we send our ‘thanks but no thanks’ reply. We sometimes even receive calls from frustrated applicants who just can’t understand why they weren't  put forward for a role.

The truth of the matter is our Clients pay us to bring them the most suitable applicants for each position (usually the top 3) and we simply have applicants who match our Clients’ criteria more closely. As a service provider to a paying client, we would not be earning our fee if we submitted every application we received to our client for consideration.

Demonstrate Your Suitability

Lots of applicants I deal with have paid people to update their resume, but this can mean big expenditure for little return – your recruiter should be able to give some pointers for no charge. Besides, it is not always the layout of the resume that is directly responsible for the rejections they receive. In my job, I hope to use my experience to help some of these job seekers re-evaluate the positions they apply for and even how they apply for them, in a bid to help them gain employment. Even if this blog helps just one person return to work then in my opinion, it has been worthwhile! The main thing you need to remember is that the person receiving your resume may receive hundreds of other applications for the same role. You have a very limited time frame to impress and therefore you need to make their job as easy as possible. The key areas that I feel are important to consider when applying for roles are:

The Resume

Formatting & Structure

Of course, I cannot speak for all employers or even all recruiters but after quite a few years doing this I myself find that I’m more drawn to resumes that are easy to read. What is a well structured resume? Well, to me and most decision makers I know a well structured resume:
  • Is a simple no-frills document (e.g. little or no decoration or fancy stuff);
  • Contains your name and contact details;
  • Contains all relevant dates stated on positions and major studies;
  • Bullet-pointed lists of main duties and achievements relating to the role; and
  • The content has been suitably spell checked with good grammar.
The key is to provide the vital information without going into the minutiae of every minute of every day. To this end, the best resumes I’ve seen are 1-2 pages as a rule of thumb. It should be a hook to pique the reader’s interest and want them to contact you for more. Dates are an important consideration for an employer. It’s not necessary to state the day you started at a company but the month is – especially for jobs lasting less than 5 years. For example, if you state that you were employed by a company from 2010 – 2011, the interpretation is that you could have been there for as little as 2 days or as much as 24 months! You won’t be fooling an experienced resume reviewer so not including the actual month can look like you’re trying to hide a gap from an employer so when they have 10 other resumes from people with relevant experience, you’re automatically losing points here. It is amazing how many resumes I receive that are confusing and extremely difficult to read. Competition for almost every job is fierce and you want employers to take one look at your resume and know what experience you have, for what length of time and within which industries. Making the readers life easy can only result in more positive results for you! The order in which you state your employment history is also important. Convention dictates you put your most recent job first. Otherwise, if you’ve been in employment for 20 years then your most recent and relevant experience is going to be somewhere at the end and the reader may not get that far! Everyone’s time is precious and you’re likely to lose their interest if they have to spend it trawling through reams of paper. Another way to think about is when you open your favorite magazine or newspaper; you go to the pages that are of interest to you and you know where to find them. Imagine if they changed them around every week. You’d soon change to another magazine or newspaper that made it easy for you to find the content you’re looking for. The same principle applies here.

Gaps in employment

If there is a significant gap (i.e. more than 8 weeks) then you really need to state why. If the employer has 5 suitable resumes and only 3 slots of interview time in their diary, they will resort to picking the cream of the crop. If you haven’t worked for the last 3 months and they don’t know why, even though you may have an absolutely valid reason for this, they are likely to think there has to be a reason behind the gap. Added to this, if you have moved around a lot, you may want to add a ‘reason for leaving’ insert just underneath the duties section of the role and state which jobs were temporary or contracts. Otherwise, it’s normally better not to include the reason for leaving – you can provide this at interview if asked.

Personal Information

It always astounds me how much personal information people put on their resume. You really don’t know who is reading this and what their personal likes or dislikes are. Of course, you need to include relevant information such as address and contact details, but nobody needs to know about your keen interest in astronomy, cross stitch or horse riding – unless you are going for jobs in those industries. You should also be aware that your hobby of ‘socialising’ can often be interpreted as partying! In effect, giving too much away here can be detrimental to any application. This is a little bit subjective but it’s safest to consider this a ‘need to know’ only area i.e. do they ‘need to know’ you like fine wine and dancing? (The answer is No, by the way).

Grammar & Spelling

I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to check your resume for basic errors. You send your resume to an employer using Word. Word tells you when you’ve spelled a word wrong. Use it! You will also need to make yourself aware of the relevant usage of “your and you’re” as well as “there, their and they’re”. Word does not always highlight these errors and it is so important to show capability in this area; especially for administrative positions.

Photos

It’s great to let an employer know that you’re not a two headed ogre, but if you insist on adding a photo to your resume, make it a professional one. Nobody needs to see you in a bikini, an underwear shot, or your Facebook profile picture. Generally, I would advise against adding photos to your resume, but in some industries and roles it can be relevant, and some employers do request them. Make your decision based on your audience but keep it professional. Now we have your resume sorted, in the next article we can make sure resume is relevant to the job you are applying for and that you are applying to jobs that are relevant to your resume.   Cox Purtell Recruitment Agency Blog / Sydney / Melbourne / Adelaide" ["post_title"]=> string(25) "Why Can’t I Find A Job?" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(124) "Lots of applicants I deal with have paid people to update their resume, but this can mean big expenditure for little return." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(71) "why-cant-i-find-a-job-7-tips-for-landing-a-great-job-in-a-tough-economy" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(183) "http://www.coxpurtell.com.au/blog/top-10-resume-tips/ http://www.coxpurtell.com.au/blog/relevance-of-experience-vs-job/ http://www.coxpurtell.com.au/blog/succeed-interview-using-5-ps/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-10-26 10:59:54" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-10-26 00:59:54" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(40) "http://118.127.43.121/~coxpurtell/?p=368" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" }

Even in these grim economic times, I truly believe that there is a job out there for everyone. However, I also believe that this isn’t always the job that people think they should be doing.

Having worked in recruitment in the UK between 2008 and 2012 (the years worst affected by the GFC), I saw hundreds, if not thousands of applications from people who just weren’t suitable for the roles I was recruiting for.

However, that does not mean that they were bad people or that they shouldn’t be employed.

People are always asking why we can’t consider them for a position and they often think it’s a direct insult that we send our ‘thanks but no thanks’ reply. We sometimes even receive calls from frustrated applicants who just can’t understand why they weren’t  put forward for a role.

The truth of the matter is our Clients pay us to bring them the most suitable applicants for each position (usually the top 3) and we simply have applicants who match our Clients’ criteria more closely. As a service provider to a paying client, we would not be earning our fee if we submitted every application we received to our client for consideration.

Demonstrate Your Suitability

Lots of applicants I deal with have paid people to update their resume, but this can mean big expenditure for little return – your recruiter should be able to give some pointers for no charge. Besides, it is not always the layout of the resume that is directly responsible for the rejections they receive.

In my job, I hope to use my experience to help some of these job seekers re-evaluate the positions they apply for and even how they apply for them, in a bid to help them gain employment. Even if this blog helps just one person return to work then in my opinion, it has been worthwhile!

The main thing you need to remember is that the person receiving your resume may receive hundreds of other applications for the same role. You have a very limited time frame to impress and therefore you need to make their job as easy as possible. The key areas that I feel are important to consider when applying for roles are:

The Resume

Formatting & Structure

Of course, I cannot speak for all employers or even all recruiters but after quite a few years doing this I myself find that I’m more drawn to resumes that are easy to read.

What is a well structured resume? Well, to me and most decision makers I know a well structured resume:

  • Is a simple no-frills document (e.g. little or no decoration or fancy stuff);
  • Contains your name and contact details;
  • Contains all relevant dates stated on positions and major studies;
  • Bullet-pointed lists of main duties and achievements relating to the role; and
  • The content has been suitably spell checked with good grammar.

The key is to provide the vital information without going into the minutiae of every minute of every day. To this end, the best resumes I’ve seen are 1-2 pages as a rule of thumb. It should be a hook to pique the reader’s interest and want them to contact you for more.

Dates are an important consideration for an employer. It’s not necessary to state the day you started at a company but the month is – especially for jobs lasting less than 5 years. For example, if you state that you were employed by a company from 2010 – 2011, the interpretation is that you could have been there for as little as 2 days or as much as 24 months!

You won’t be fooling an experienced resume reviewer so not including the actual month can look like you’re trying to hide a gap from an employer so when they have 10 other resumes from people with relevant experience, you’re automatically losing points here.

It is amazing how many resumes I receive that are confusing and extremely difficult to read. Competition for almost every job is fierce and you want employers to take one look at your resume and know what experience you have, for what length of time and within which industries. Making the readers life easy can only result in more positive results for you!

The order in which you state your employment history is also important. Convention dictates you put your most recent job first. Otherwise, if you’ve been in employment for 20 years then your most recent and relevant experience is going to be somewhere at the end and the reader may not get that far! Everyone’s time is precious and you’re likely to lose their interest if they have to spend it trawling through reams of paper.

Another way to think about is when you open your favorite magazine or newspaper; you go to the pages that are of interest to you and you know where to find them. Imagine if they changed them around every week. You’d soon change to another magazine or newspaper that made it easy for you to find the content you’re looking for. The same principle applies here.

Gaps in employment

If there is a significant gap (i.e. more than 8 weeks) then you really need to state why. If the employer has 5 suitable resumes and only 3 slots of interview time in their diary, they will resort to picking the cream of the crop. If you haven’t worked for the last 3 months and they don’t know why, even though you may have an absolutely valid reason for this, they are likely to think there has to be a reason behind the gap.

Added to this, if you have moved around a lot, you may want to add a ‘reason for leaving’ insert just underneath the duties section of the role and state which jobs were temporary or contracts. Otherwise, it’s normally better not to include the reason for leaving – you can provide this at interview if asked.

Personal Information

It always astounds me how much personal information people put on their resume. You really don’t know who is reading this and what their personal likes or dislikes are. Of course, you need to include relevant information such as address and contact details, but nobody needs to know about your keen interest in astronomy, cross stitch or horse riding – unless you are going for jobs in those industries.

You should also be aware that your hobby of ‘socialising’ can often be interpreted as partying! In effect, giving too much away here can be detrimental to any application. This is a little bit subjective but it’s safest to consider this a ‘need to know’ only area i.e. do they ‘need to know’ you like fine wine and dancing? (The answer is No, by the way).

Grammar & Spelling

I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to check your resume for basic errors. You send your resume to an employer using Word. Word tells you when you’ve spelled a word wrong. Use it! You will also need to make yourself aware of the relevant usage of “your and you’re” as well as “there, their and they’re”. Word does not always highlight these errors and it is so important to show capability in this area; especially for administrative positions.

Photos

It’s great to let an employer know that you’re not a two headed ogre, but if you insist on adding a photo to your resume, make it a professional one. Nobody needs to see you in a bikini, an underwear shot, or your Facebook profile picture.

Generally, I would advise against adding photos to your resume, but in some industries and roles it can be relevant, and some employers do request them. Make your decision based on your audience but keep it professional.

Now we have your resume sorted, in the next article we can make sure resume is relevant to the job you are applying for and that you are applying to jobs that are relevant to your resume.

 

Cox Purtell Recruitment Agency Blog / Sydney / Melbourne / Adelaide

Tags: Career | Cox Purtell | Cox Purtell Blog | Job Applications | Permanent Recruitment | Recruitment Adelaide | Recruitment Agency Adelaide | Recruitment Agency Melbourne | Recruitment Agency Sydney | Recruitment Melbourne | Recruitment Sydney | Temporary Recruitment | Temps |

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