Trying to get to the bottom of why your application techniques aren’t working is the first step to finding a new job, says renowned career coach, Denise Taylor. But it requires facing some tough questions.
I’m a man aged 64, youthful in appearance and have applied for over 4,000 IT Senior Management or Consulting jobs in 18 months, both permanent and contract, in the UK and overseas. I have ‘covered the field’ and in my view, all have been jobs that I could do at least ‘well’ – mostly in the field of Project and Programme Management. I’ve gained 19 interviews for permanent jobs and none for contract. Some of these proceeded as far as final interview. I’ve not been offered any of the jobs I applied for whereas once, if I got to interview I was most likely to be offered the job. Should I give up looking because (a) I have been out of ‘career’ work for over a year and (b) my age, or (c) for any other reason?
Answer: Denise Taylor replies:
When I reply to enquiries such as yours I choose to be quite blunt as I think people want practical suggestions and not sympathy.
I want to leave the issue of your age to one side for the moment and look at the numerical details you’ve included in your letter. Applying for over 4,000 jobs over 18 months averages 222 applications a month resulting in an invite to interview ration of 1 in 200, which is low. I honestly don’t know how anyone can properly apply for that number of jobs unless they are sending out stock letters and standard CVs for every application. We do have the recession now, but up till six months ago my personal clients were getting interviews on a ratio of about 1 in 3 applications.
I encourage my clients to apply for a maximum of five jobs a week (and sometimes just one or two), but to make sure that each application they make is the very best it can be. That means doing your research, specifically targeting the company and adapting your letter and CV. This would take a few hours for each one, so could well take up half the week. Alongside this, I advise them to utilise other methods of finding a job and to build contacts – letting other people know about your skills and strengths and being clear on what you are looking for. There’s a need to use a range of job search methods and this includes the ‘unadvertised market’ – contacting companies directly, arranging to talk with people who might know someone who can offer you a job, ‘improving your brand’ through social networking techniques.
With the interviews you have had, did you follow up with a letter after the interview to reinforce why you are a good match and, if you were unsuccessful, did you seek out feedback as to why you didn’t get the job?
There are many good people out there and short-listing aims to bring only the very best candidates in for interview, so perhaps your CV and covering letter need to be reviewed.
Age may be an issue in some cases, but if you appear youthful in appearance and body language it might be that you need to revise your overall technique. I wrote my book, How to Get a Job in a Recession specifically to help people whose approach isn’t working, so there may be some good information in the book for you.
I’d start tomorrow as the first day of your revised job search and aim to refocus your approach.
Denise is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist, Registered Guidance Practitioner, and founder of Amazing People. For more career guidance, visit www.amazingpeople.co.uk.
For more career-related advice, visit www.jobsite.co.uk
- Career Change: What if I get it wrong? How can you be sure that making a career change...
- Career Workshop: Why Didn’t I Get The Job? Are your job applications ending up on the ‘no’ pile...
- Career Workshop: too long out of work? How do you convince employers that you are right for...
- Career Workshop: Planning your career’s future Why is it important to plan your career? Well it’s...
- Career Workshop: Too Experienced How often have you been told you have too much...