Landing your dream job should not be a trial and error process. With the right tools and the right mindset, you can walk into the perfect job without sending a hundred emails. Building that strategy and seeing it through requires a set of tools. In this article, our experts will guide you with 4 tips on how to actually send fewer applications but land more job interviews.
It can be tempting to apply for every job that comes your way. You might think that increases your chances of landing your job. The reality is different. The idea is to maximize your effort by tailoring your applications to meet specific details in a job ad.
Decide what you want
It is important to decide what career path you wish to follow. For many in specialised fields like medicine, engineering, etc., this is pretty straightforward. For the majority of job-seekers, though, the realm of opportunities available can become more suffocating than beneficial. The fact you have an Economics degree means you can branch into banking, marketing, and other fields that require an analyst’s skillset. Despite these options, it is necessary to decide where you wish to see yourself in the next ten years. Do you want to be the head of your bank or brokerage firm? Are you interested in helping startups secure funding and manage their businesses better? This long view of your career will inform what skills you need to gather. Consequently, it will tell you which jobs you should take today in order to gather the needed experiences to reach your goal in the next 10 to 20 years. If you have this at the back of your mind, you will not send an application to an agribusiness if you have your eyes set on something else. Define your career early on in your life and try to follow that path steadily.
The best time to decide on your career is when you are starting high school; the next best time is now. Take up the opportunity and shape your life with vision.
Apply with résumé, not CV
It is important to know the difference between the CV and résumé if you are not sure of the nuances. A CV meant for a banking institution should not be used to apply for a job in fashion design. Apart from the aesthetic requirements being different, the details of the jobs vary considerably. Where a fashion design agency might give you room to be more experimental in presenting your experience, the banking sector require strict adherence to code and ethics. You need to be swift and straight to the point in a bank, while creativity is most admired in the fashion industry.
Even within the same industry, pay attention to job requirements before making your application. Each job ad has requirements that every applicant should possess. Make sure you draw links between these requirements and your work experiences if you wish to make a point. The hiring officer expects to see these qualifications in your CV before entertaining the idea of calling you for an interview.
Another reason why you need a dedicated CV for each job is so you can create a profile that matches the job description. “I am a marketer with five years’ work experience in the FMCG subsector where I managed GHC 2million worth of food products,” is more suitable for a marketing/sales job than for an executive role in a non-profit organisation. The experience might count but not when it’s written like that.
Creating the ideal CV is very critical in landing your dream job with fewer applications. To increase your chances, contact experts to help you craft your CV to match job requirements in order to achieve your dream job.
In summary, avoid sending the same CV for all jobs in Ghana or latest jobs in Nigeria. You might think you are saving time by doing so but be rest assured, you are wasting your own time because where there is competition, then your CV has almost zero chance of being selected.
The Letter that Covers Everything
The cover letter is your elevator pitch to an organisation. Where the CV puts your entire career in bullet points, the cover letter tells the hiring officer why you should be employed. It is designed to reinforce your commitment to the organisation’s ideals even though you barely know them. In only a few words, you have the chance to impress your prospective employer
A good cover letter includes a heading that spells out clearly the job you are applying for and a catchy introduction. The second and third paragraphs are your 15 seconds of fame. Assume you are seated on a couch with the CEO of your dream company and he/she asks you to say why you should be considered the job…in ten seconds; this is what these paragraphs of your cover letter should do. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t be modest. Say exactly what you have achieved in your previous jobs. Tell him or her what you bring to the table. Back it up with a summary of these achievements, and then close.
As with the CV, you need to design a cover letter for each job you are applying. It doesn’t do to just change the company address and date; rather, your cover letter should reflect the job description; your skillset and experiences should be in reference to the job requirements.
The best way to create a compelling cover letter is to tap into your strengths and aspirations. Speak to a recruitment coach to know what to not put on your cover letter.
The Application Process – Pay Attention to Instructions
If you don’t want to send a lot of applications, then make sure the one you send is your best ever. It means you should go the extra step to craft the perfect cover letter; your CV should be tailor-made to meet the requirements in the job ad. Don’t recycle old letters; the hiring manager will see through the disjointed paragraphs very easily.
Pay close attention to documents you are asked to include. If they ask for copies of your national service certificate, make sure you include it in the application folder. Also, make sure you state in the body of the email all the documents you have attached to the email. If they are not expecting any documents from you, the email server could treat your application as a potential threat and get rid of it. If they ask for CV and cover letter in word document, follow the instructions to the letter.
Email Subject Line: If you are sending your application via email, follow instructions regarding the subject line. Never leave the subject line empty, as it could be send straight to spam. Too many applicants either leave the subject blank or put synonyms or variations of their own subject. This is wrong. If the instruction says put “Accra Marketing Executive” in the email subject, you should put “Accra Marketing Executive” or “Accra Marketing Executive – Kofi Mensah”. But variations like “Accra Marketing”, “The Accra Marketer”, “Best Marketing Executive” etc are wrong because they fail to include the precise keyword or key phrase required.
More importantly, don’t apply for just any job you come across. Look at the ones you are most suitably qualified for in terms of experience, qualifications, etc. If you are just blasting a hundred applications and hoping for a chance, you will receive more disappointments than you deserve. Worse, you could actually land a job you are not happy with, and you will stuck in it and be too afraid to quit and wait for the right position. If you are looking for a career in marketing, for example, create a shortlist of about 15 job ads you see on the internet. Then whittle that down to three to five of which you find yourself most interested in. These are the jobs you should apply to, not the entire 15 catalogue of job opportunities.
Landing the perfect job requires smart work. You have to start by defining you career path. Then you craft the perfect job application by tailoring your CV and cover letter to meet the job requirements. Make sure you are also applying for jobs you are most qualified for. At xycareers.com, we don’t recommend applying for more than 2 jobs per week. Save your energy and rather put more effort into few applications. The name of the game is quality, not quantity.