As painful as rejections after applying for jobs are, they are an integral part of the process. So much so that for every single hiring contract that a candidate signs, he/she probably has received more rejections; especially at the beginning of their job hunt journey.
How then can this experience be maximized in such a way that it becomes beneficial to the rejected candidate(s), and eventually becomes an opportunity for the candidates to discover the needed professional weapon from their arsenal, which in turn, translate to them signing a contract? That is what this article is attempted at unveiling.
List of what to note when applying for jobs
- Top on the list of things to note is to understand that a resume is different from a job application. Your resume is a business document that introduces you to the recruiter. It convinces them of your capabilities, why you are fit for the role, and why you deserve to move to the interview stage. It summarizes your educational and professional background as relevant to the applied job role. You should pay attention to the job description, and ensure the document (resume) you are submitting matches what the recruiter requires.
The Job application on the other hand is a formal form filled by an applicant, requesting to join an organization. It is usually detailed with relevant certifications and experiences. An application is legally binding as any information provided and eventually discovered to be untrue can attract penalties- both minor and severe alike; depending on the level of misinformation committed by the candidate.
From the explanations above, you will understand why a resume and job application are similar, yet individually unique. The reason people mistake them.
Depending on the organization’s culture, applicants can fill job applications at the beginning of the process, mid-way into the process, or even when the candidate is confirmed suitable for the role.
- We cannot overemphasize the importance of Cover letters in job applications. It is a concise sales pitch you do to the recruiter, on why you believe you are the one the company needs in the pool of applicants. Cover letters show you are serious about getting invited for an interview and convinces the recruiter that you are in for business.
Oftentimes, candidates get rejected because they just submitted their resumes and that’s all. When you submit your resume alongside a well-written pitch (AKA cover letter), it proves to the recruiter that you are applying to that specific role, and not just gambling by throwing your CV around, hoping to be contacted.
- When applying for jobs, it is not how much, but how well. Unemployment can be frustrating, understandably so. But as jobseekers, you need to understand that it is not enough that you are applying to every other opening you lay your eyes on. This is because, if not properly done, the more jobs you apply to, the more rejection emails you get. And that is not good for your self-esteem.
It is better to put out 5 QUALITY applications a month, than poor, below-par applications in their 20s per month. For a reminder on how to go about this, check out our older post on what job seekers should know about the hiring process. It is a detailed, yet simplified article on what to do as you apply for your dream job.
- As you go about your job-hunting business, an honest self-estimation is key. This is where you access your expertise, interests, and skill set in alignment with the job role. And this takes us back to the importance of reading and understanding job descriptions.
If your skills and interests do not correlate with the role, there may be a problem with the application. This is also where you access yourself or get a mentor that you can trust to access you objectively. Then, you will know if you are fit for the role, where you need improvement, and how to go about it.
This is important because to be the candidate that clinches unto the role among 100s or 1000s of candidates, you must put your best foot forward, and not through guesswork.
- For every job seeker out there, visibility to recruiters is very important. Thanks to Technology, this is possible with your mobile device or PC, from the comfort of your home. You don’t have to go about dropping application requests/letters from office to office. Unfortunately, as convenient as this is, so many job seekers aren’t getting it right.
This is where you network with recruiters online, join online communities of like-minded people, optimize your social media accounts (LinkedIn, Indeed, Twitter, Facebook, etc) to make you visible, clean up your posts, and be visible. Job hunting is a full-time job role.
Networking online does not translate to ignoring offline networking. Both are important to your goal of landing a job. So, as you network online, do the same offline too.
- For emphasis, I am bringing the importance of accurately reading and understanding job descriptions before applying. When you see a vacancy, you must not apply immediately. Take your time, do your assignment, ensure you are at least, 70% – 80% fit for the role (objectively) before applying for the role. It may be tedious, but you need it.
When you understand the description and judge yourself if you are fit for the company, you also judge if the company will be good for you. You don’t want to join a team that will shrink your growth. So, as you water the company’s Vision, the company should water yours too. The relationship should be symbiotic.
- Tailor your resume to the job requirement. When writing your resume, you must tailor it to perfectly fit the role you are applying to. You may have gathered experiences over the years, but the recruiter does not need irrelevant information on the resume, and that includes experiences that do not correlate with the job role.
If your professional experience is 10 years old and below, for example, your resume is expected to be just a page, irrespective of the multiple places you have worked in those 10 years. Therefore, as you apply for jobs, bear in mind that the resume needs to be as concise as possible and the experiences you indicate therein must strictly be relevant to the role you apply to.
- Participate in the hiring strategy. When it comes to job hunting, hope is not a strategy. It is not enough to sit back and fold your hands after submitting a job application. You can do a follow-up email/call.
Nevertheless, you have to do this with tact. You shouldn’t bombard the recruiter’s line/mailbox. Rather, be professional about it. You must also be ready for the next stage, so as not to be caught off-guard. You don’t just follow up for follow-up’s sake. Rather, you do that because you are ready for an impromptu interview for example, or whatever stage is the next.
- It is always advisable to keep track of your applications. This can be helpful in the long run. So important is this because, even if you’re rejected, you will be able to a post-rejection assessment of the whole application, and probably be able to improve on whatever dropped your points in the recruiter’s book.
If you were rejected for not having a particular skill set, for example, keeping a track of your application can help you re-contact the recruiter after you must have up-skilled to what was required. You can then send a cold email to the recruiter, intimating them of the current development, and who knows, it might just be your lucky day!
As you apply to jobs, always remember that your resume and application should reflect the best part of you. It is NOT to falsify information (background checks will expose any of such) but to ensure you shoot your shots appropriately, with the best weapon in your Arsenal. Rejection is redirection if lessons are learned, and you re-strategize.
Have you struggled with rejection in your job hunting journey? Maybe you are even tired of going through the process all over again. Do you need a group of professionals to hold your hands, mentor you, help you land that dream job of yours, help you grow your career? Do well to click this link. The Youth Initiative for Economic Empowerment (YIEE) is here to provide answers to all your questions. Many have taken that bold step and are glad they did. Do not hesitate to join the train of those with success stories to share.