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Five mistakes made by jobseekers

If you want to stand out among the hundreds of job applications, you will need to put in rather more effort

You may think that applying for a job these days is easy. You simply press the Apply button on the job advert, attach your finely-crafted but several-months-old CV, and click Submit; however, if you want to stand out among the dozens – if not hundreds – of job applications the recruiter has to wade through, you will need to put in rather more effort.

According to a recent survey, there are five mistakes that many jobseekers make when applying; in fact, these are five things they are not doing that they certainly should be.

1. Customise your CV

It may sound obvious but having one general CV for every application is not good enough. If you are applying for more than one type of job, you need a CV especially written for each type that matches the job description of the position you are applying for. The survey found that 54% of applicants did not do this, leaving the hirer struggling to find any relevant experience or skills.

2. Personalise your application

Try to find out the name of the recruiter and write his or her name on the application – this helps to engage with them on a personal level. The survey discovered 84% of respondents did not do this; by doing so, you will stand out from the crowd.

3. Write a cover letter

When applying for dozens of jobs a month, it is tempting not to bother with cover letters; however, if you are offered the chance to include one, you must do so. Again, you should personalise it if possible and adapt it to each separate job application. In the survey, 45% of jobseekers did not include a cover letter.

4. Follow up the application

Following up an application – after a suitable interval, naturally – will help to remind the recruiter who you are and shows that you are serious about the position. The survey found 37% of job hunters did not do this, despite it being an ideal opportunity to show the recruiter your initiative.

5. Send a thank you note after the interview

If you are lucky enough to get an interview and it goes well, you can gain an extra advantage by sending a thank you email to the recruiter afterwards. Keep it brief and businesslike. Again, it reminds the hirer of who you are and confirms your interest. More than half (57%) of the respondents in the survey did not do this.

The survey, which was carried out by CareerBuilder in the United States, involved asking more than 3,000 employees across a range of industries and firm sizes about their job-seeking habits. Rosemary Haefner, chief HR officer at CareerBuilder, said candidates are being fooled into thinking that clicking the Submit button is all the effort they need to put into job hunting; instead, they should be making every application count by putting in the time and effort required.

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