Job Application – Why Yours Was Rejected

It is only once their job application has been rejected, that most job seekers get an insight in why their job application failed.

Unfortunately this tells them that with some fore thought, they could have figured this out for themselves. Let me help you avoid these common mistakes, and give you some insider advice on how to maximise your job application success

Job Application: it’s a personnel thing

All job applications do not start with the job seeker, but with the employer. A job is approved inside an organisation through the combination of two forces:

  • Business need
  • The manager of the team in which the job will be fulfilled

This is an important insight, as it should tell you that the final decision on who is employed is made by that manager, and that the successful job applicant will be considered the most able to deliver the defined business requirements.

The result of these two forces is the creation of a job description, from which the job advert is derived. Only after the job is approved to this stage, does job application become a personnel process. But not recognising the human beings wholly in the personal exchange – the manager and the successful jobholder – is a key mistake of many job applicants

You and Your Job Search

A job application starts long before you start reading newspapers, crawling job boards, trudging to the Job Centre or chatting to friends. Your job search starts with you, and a clear definition of:

  • Who and what you are
  • What you hence offer
  • What you want to do/see yourself doing long term

If you don’t know what you want to do, then any job will do, and hence multiple job application rejection will follow

Job Market testing

Although you now know what you want to do, the jobs market may at that point in time not want those exact skills, in that search geography, for the pay level which makes economic sense to you. You need to test that the job market is offering that job at the right pay level, and this is where the real advantage of the jobs board driven job search becomes apparent.

Go to your favourite jobs board, keeping the title/skills consistent and setting the pay level to zero. Then open the geographic search criteria until the result shows at least 20 jobs. If you can’t find at least 20 suitable jobs, then your ideal job presently doesn’t exist in the jobs market. Either: go back to stage1 and think of another interim step to your ideal long term job; wait three months; or accept constant job application upset.

The second problem at this stage is having too many jobs to apply for. Again, go to your favourite jobs board, and if after filling in your desired criteria there are more than 100 job results returned, then go back and more closely define what you offer an employer/seek next and long term. Falling into any job will do syndrome means that you are not focusing sufficiently in the eyes of the employer on what you can do well/offer, and hence will be rejected.

Professional CV

Although it disappoints me to say it, as a Professional CV Writer if you approach your job search in a particular manner, you don’t actually need a Professional CV. But, for 95% of job applications, you will at some point in the legal and hence defined HR process need a CV. In the modern world, a one-size fits all CV just won’t get you the required telephone interview: the only output action required when an employer takes when presented with a good CV.

If like many today you heard a friend or someone in a pub used a free template successfully to get employed, make sure you don’t follow the herd: templates mean you don’t stand out from the crowd. Good Professional CV Writers create engaging 2page documents that make employers pick up the telephone, because they communicate that the job applicant has the desired skills to fit the job description, and show social fit with the organisation/manager. If your template doesn’t, how ever pretty it is or however long your list of hobbies and interests, expect to be rejected

Job Application Form

The one thing that job seekers fail continually to understand, and yet employment professional do, is that you can’t beat the odds of where you find and how you apply for jobs.

For instance, as an internal employee offered a promotion, your chances are 90%. For a known person interacting directly with a recruiting organisation, your chances are around 50%. Your best chance of getting employed via a public job advert, be that on a company website or via newspaper, are around 12% on average. Where as a “follow the process” application via a job sourced on a jobs board could easily be as low as 2%

So why do so many job seekers think that they will be successful spending more than 10% o the time on jobs boards? Rejection is bound into and dictated by the where your find jobs and how you apply

Job application confidence

This is the last point of job application rejection, and it is a general issue throughout the current job-seeking world: personal confidence. Job seeking in itself is a job, and it is a tough one. There is research, marketing, paperwork, cold calling, direct costs and worst of the lot: a high level rejection. Even the successful job seekers will be rejected at least once, which means that their success ratio is 50%. I haven’t yet met an unsuccessful job seeker who was in some way lacking in self-confidence. It is one of the reasons that I decided to in part cross the divide and become a CV Writer, because universally in most job searches the CV is a common point. If you read through this article, and are still wondering why you are rejected, then after looking in the mirror get out with friends and family and remember what’s important. After taking a break for a day or two, then go back to applying for jobs with renewed vigour, and seek some help in your job search.

In Part2, we will cover the actual job application process.

A job application is as easy as you make it for yourself, but the one big piece of inside advice you should take to avoid job application disappointment: if you don’t know you, what you offer, and what you want to do, then you will be: REJECTED!

Good Luck!

Job Search – What Type is Yours?

There are probably as many types of Job Search as there are Job Seekers.

But the global increase in unemployment has brought about a new surge in job applicants, many of whom have not have experienced the task of the Job Search in many years. The result is many dissatisfied job seekers, who feel that their Job Search efforts are not being appreciated by the employment profession, with a resultant increase in long term job seekers.

However, if they knew which type of job search they were undertaking, they would know what type of result they should expect.

Direct Offer: The Insider
The direct approach and offer from a company, is often a surprise to the person, who probably as not an active job seeker. This type of job seeker is already directly known by the organisation, normally through being an existing employee. You could also be presently working for a competitor, supplier or an existing customer of the organisation. If you are approached, you have a 90% chance of being employed using this method.

Networking from: The Virtual Insider
This type of direct approach offer again is a delight to a person who is probably not an active job seeker, but is presently not known to the employing organisation. The result of this approach is a testament to their clear personal elevator pitch and track record of delivery, and the advocation by others often within the employing organisation, or by people within a common mutual network. This is a fast expanding area of recruitment, with companies now paying existing employees for successful introductions of new hires. If approached, you have a 50% chance of being employed using this method

Headhunted: The Star!
Modern headhunting is about direct from client business orientated briefs, which are fulfilled quickly. While the client side of the business has changed little but niched more, the search and find side of the business has been transformed by the boom in social networking. Now, techniques like Boolean search allow headhunters to create larger lists of suitably qualified applicants, and hence offer better candidates who are more researched in a quicker timescale. The result is that these types of job seekers are again often not active job seekers, but can be concluded as stars within their chosen profession or market. You have a greater than 35% chance of being employed if approached using this method

Networking to: the Inside track
We now move from mainly passive job seekers to active job seekers, those who are either employed or presently between positions. This next two types of job search require the job seeker to:

  • Know themselves, and what they offer
  • Know what they want to do
  • Be able to communicate the combination in a personal elevator pitch
  • Be willing to research the desired/targeted organisations

This type of job search requires effort, and hence most job seekers avoid it not because they are more successful – often ten times as successful as other active types of job search; but because other options require less thought and effort.

The inside track approach requires that having decided to job search, that inside your target organisation/s you already have a previously developed contact/s. This inside contact may be as a result of you being a customer, supplier, competitor or business network contacts. Your initial approach is based on person to person conversations often over cups of coffee, making a subtle research based informational interview approach to asses who you should be talking to, and what they are seeking to achieve for the business. If you use this method, then you have a 20% chance of being employed from companies you target

Direct approach: The Navigator
The navigator approach is similar and statistically as successful to the inside track, but as you have no developed contacts inside the target organisations (start with a list of 50, whittle them down to 20 through simple research), you need to develop a contact base. With the development of business orientated social networking, and the increase in the number of companies offering existing employees bonuses for the successful introduction of new hires, this method is a lot easier than it ever was. It requires the same clarity of though on who you are/what you want out of your career as the inside tack, with similar levels of research effort on the target organisations, but development of suitable insider contacts. On average five times more successful than applying via job adverts in newspapers or job boards, with a 15% chance of being employed from companies you target on your researched list. This can easily be improved to virtual insider levels of success of 50% or greater with some more simple research and networking techniques, it just depends on how much you want a job with that company?

Recruiter: The Mountie
The next set of three job search options have differing rates of success, but have two things in common:

  • You will follow a defined HR process to be hired
  • As the positions are openly advertised for, you will have high levels of competition. Expect 5 people to make it to the interview stage for each single position being recruited for, multiplied by three fold back down each stage of the recruitment process (ie: application, CV sift, online testing, telephone interview, etc). This could presently result in 100 original job applications

If you undertake your job search via a recruiter advert, and having checked out the strength of the recruiters relationship and brief to make sure you are not being CV fished, and further have not broken the “three recruiters and out” rule; then your chances of employment via this route are 15% or greater. You can easily improve this to 35% or more if you know the right tactics and questions to ask. The recruiter often works in a competitive environment, against other recruiters and the organisations own HR people, to fulfil a position. If the recruiter successfully fulfils the position and gets their man, then they get paid; if not, then its on to the next opportunity. Good recruiters always get their man, and after introduction to the employer you follow the organisations defined recruitment process

Newspaper or company website job advert: The Jockey
Newspaper adverts and company websites are a good source of real job opportunity. Firstly, they require effort and or cost on behalf of the hiring organisation, which means that the jobs are real and not CV fishing exercises. Secondly, you are direct on to the organisation, although you have to accept that you probably won’t be talking to the hiring manager, but about to ride through a sanitised, wholly locally legal/ethical and HR managed/monitored recruitment process. Don’t expect to be treated like you or a human being, the process is designed to be selective in a non-judgemental way. You hence have little choice in the race you are about to take part in, expect that you chose to enter it, and hence have little ability to affect its outcome. Your chances of being recruited via this method once you hit the apply button or send your application through the post are between 3% and 5%, although this can easily be doubled with some simple effort

Job board: The Donkey
Of all the methods of job search, the job board is the most common and actively used by many present day job seekers. Yet, the statistics show that only 12% of all positions are fulfilled by job boards in any market. If so few jobs are fulfilled by job boards, why do most unsuccessful long term job seekers spend most of their days trawling job boards? Simply, it doesn’t require much effort to find or apply for jobs on a job board, but gives the job seeker the regular internal satisfaction of being able to say at the end of each day “yes honey, I spent the day job seeking!” As a recruiter, I know that some of those jobs “advertised” on job boards do not exist. The job board market is so competitive – with around 50,000 job boards in North America, and 50,000 around the rest of the world – that the cost of advertising a job on a job board can be as little as free. If the cost of doing something was free, and add in that you can repeat the same job advert for ever simply by ticking a repeat button, how often would you do that task? In a recent test, of 126 jobs advertised as available in a large city, an employment organisation found that the actual number of jobs fulfilling the search criteria was 10! When there are so many “false” or repeat job adverts, and when it is so easy to CV fish, is it any wonder that you chances of success via a job board can drop as low as 2%?

Job Search Conclusion
So, what type of job search are you undertaking? Statistics from various parts of the world show that a majority of job seekers focus most of their efforts in responding to job adverts from recruiters, newspapers or spending their time on job boards, where at best their average chance of success if 15% or less. Yet, over three quarter of jobs fulfilled in the past year have never been advertised, of which at least half of them are open for application from job seekers who just have to put in a little effort and know a few simply learnt tactics.

For instance, one job search tactic takes: 1second to understand; 1minute to learn; and within 5minutes applied to take your job search success in responding to job adverts from 15% or less to 35% or greater. Yet most would just prefer to go on proving the well known and proven job search results that they and others have always achieved.

The job search: what type is yours? Good Luck!

The Internet Job Posting

How To Write A Successful Internet Job Posting?
The key to a successful Internet job posting is first recognizing that it is not a print classified advertisement. An Internet job posting is interactive, and requires a good understanding of interactive marketing. One of the greatest challenges contractors face when posting jobs online, is recognizing that they must change their traditional job posting habits. An online job posting will not do well if written like a print classified ad. It must be thought more like an interactive marketing campaign for the entire firm. The Marketing Department rather than the HR Department should write it.

Update the Company Web Site
The company web site is rapidly becoming the first point of contact for most job seekers or prospective clients. Contractors should update their corporate web site so that it provides a professional and interactive presentation of the firm, its goals, key personnel, corporate culture, top achievements, and business philosophy. In fact, every marketing resource available to the contractor should be utilized to make the corporate web site the best it can be. Although most job boards provide hot links to company web sites, some do not. Either way, job seekers are likely to independently surf the Internet in order to locate a contractor’s web site, relevant press releases/news, before submitting their resume.

Keywords Rule
In the fast paced world of Internet surfing, most job seekers will only take the time to view the top 20 search results. Making it to the top usually is about keywords. They often make the difference between a successful job posting and a waste of time.Contractors should put the right keywords in the right place so that the right people can find their job postings. Online job postings are not viewed the way print classified ads are viewed. Online job postings are hidden within databases containing thousands of records, and they must be called up for a job seeker to view them. This process up may take the form of keyword selection in a search engine or any number of methods with point and click directories. It’s important for contractors to study the job posting and keyword guidelines of the hosting job board since they will differ from site to site. Many job boards will rank or prioritize job postings within their database by title, membership status, date, keywords or other less obvious means. Adding keywords properly assures that a job posting will find its way to the top of the job board’s search results. Adding keywords improperly may result in having the job posting deleted by the hosting job board or simply lost in the volumes of database records that job seekers never find. While identifying the best keywords for a job posting, contractors should determine which words the job seeker will select in utilizing the job board’s search engine – and include all relevant occupational-specific terms (i.e. Hard Bid Estimator or value engineering). To cover all the bases, It is a good idea to use multiple words or synonyms that may mean the same thing. For example, if the job location is in a lesser-known town such as Maitland, Florida but near a well-known city like Orlando, Florida, then Orlando should be added as a keyword. Most job boards require keywords to be added in a special field, in a particular fashion (using quotes, comas, etc.). Job postings that do not offer a special field for keywords usually require the contractor to add keywords to the Job Description, Job Requirements or other searchable fields. When adding keywords to a Job Description, contractors should write the keywords into complete sentences so that the content flows as a logical composition.

Make It Believable
Job Postings should be believable and complete if they want to attract the top talent. Most executive job seekers are interested in job postings that contain detailed job descriptions and job requirements. Many want to see salary and information about the company. Others want to know job location. Most job boards claim that a well-written job posting can achieve many more qualified applications than a poorly written job posting. Fortunately many job boards offer FAQ’s and job posting guidelines to help contractors get the most from their job posting. Some provide statistical analysis of individual job postings. These statistics often show the number of job seeker views and applications submitted to each job posting. Contractors can use statistics to evaluate their results and modify the job posting accordingly. The more details provided in a job posting the more credible the job and the better the fit. Therefore, more job seekers will respond. Contractors should be specific about the scope and type of work, the hours, the job goals, the salary and the location. They should also make sure all fields are appropriately filled in completely. Some boards allow for job postings to be previewed prior to going live helping contractors see the completed job posting the way job seekers will see it. Many job boards allow for real time editing during the advertisements flight.

Manage Style
Unlike classified print ads, online job postings usually allow for pages of copy. Headhunter.net allows for three thousand characters in the Job Description and three thousand characters in the Job Requirements fields – or about two typewritten pages. Contractors should write clearly and present text in an organized, logical manner. Job postings should read like a composition and not a print classified ad. Sentences can be short but they should always be complete sentences containing correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The copy should include natural paragraphs, with line breaks, so that the job seeker can find relevant information quickly and easily. Writing in all Caps, using excessive exclamation points, or adding acronyms and abbreviations will reduce the credibility of the job posting and potentially result in job deletion by the hosting job board. Acronyms and abbreviations should also be spelled out since job seekers usually search by complete words.

Read Job Posting Guidelines
Most job boards have Terms of Use agreements that members/users must agree to – in order to utilize their service. It’s important that contractors read and understand the terms that relate to job postings and keywords to get the best results. It is typical for job boards with have high quality control standards to delete or edit up to 25% of all job postings as being inappropriate. Most job boards do not allow for listing of emails, URL’s, use of copyrighted material, defamatory remarks, false, inaccurate or misleading information, illegal or unethical content. Job postings that encourage job seekers to email for more details, are usually prohibited.

Follow up
Contractors should immediately follow up on all qualified applications that have been submitted. Peter Weddles at weedles.com says, “Speed is everything in hiring top talent.” Within ten days, the top 10% of job seekers are gone. Once someone desirable is identified, it’s important to act on that person right away. Today’s recruitment market is highly competitive and the hiring cycle should not allow for any dead time between in-house interviewing schedules and final selection. Contractors should not leave job seekers hanging more than five to seven days without a scheduled follow-up meeting. Otherwise, they risk losing the job seeker entirely. There needs to be top-level management involved with all key hires. Involving top management makes job seekers feel that the hire is an important position, and that they have personally been selected as the “candidate of choice” by the top brass. Contractors should begin closing the deal the moment they know that they want someone for hire. They should not let up until an offer is on the table and accepted.

Common Internet Job Posting Fields & Their Purpose

Job Titles
Titles should be industry-specific and familiar to job seekers since they will use keyword search for positions according to standard job titles. The Job Title field is not the field to market the job posting (like with a classified ad). The Job Title field should be used primarily to have the job posting found by job seekers. Adding appropriate keywords, in the appropriate place, is far more important than catchy job titles that never get seen. However, it is acceptable to add relevant, occupational-defining adjectives to the basic Job Title (such as On-site Architectural Project Manager, Conceptual Chief Estimator, Hospital Flooring Project Engineer, and Veteran Concrete Superintendent).

Job Descriptions
Job descriptions typically focus on job responsibilities, duties, scope, achievements and goals to be accomplished. The clearer the description, the more likely qualified job seekers will apply. Job descriptions should focus on the job seeker’s needs and not just the position. Job descriptions should be written from the job seeker’s perspective. They should also answer the question, “Why would a job seeker want to apply for this job?” Contractors should describe the best parts of the job, interesting challenges, future job opportunities, reporting relationships, and why the position is available. It’s important to sell the overall career opportunity while not just describing it. If a job seeker takes the job, what will their lives be like? Use word pictures and try to communicate desirable images that the job seeker can visualize, compelling him/her to change jobs. For example: “work in a progressive environment where you can learn more in six months than you may have in the last six years”, or “walk into your private office and join a team of enthusiastic professionals who are building the next great management firm”. If there is not a job-posting field that lists specific benefits and perks, add them into the job description. Job benefits include things such as flex time, work at home, child care, above average medical benefits, company vehicle, education reimbursement, country club membership, and other special offerings. However, contractors should recognize that the Job Description field should not describe the company, the job requirements, the job location, salary, or anything else unless there is no other appropriate field in which to post this information. Inappropriate content (or placing content in the wrong fields) may result in the job posting being edited or deleted.

Company Profile
Most job boards allow for a hot link to the contractor’s corporate web site. Many job boards, in addition to offering a hot link, will offer a special Company Profile field. Contractors should completely fill in this field. This will add valuable content and keywords to the job board’s database in order to improve their chances of being found by searching job seekers. A Company Profile field creates an additional promotional opportunity for the firm and the job position. Use this field to describe what the company does – addressing key elements like organization size, location, benefits, company goals, mission, management style, employee quality of life and what makes the firm special. Contractors should also include information about the qualities desired in all team members. This field often provides for limitless content and is the least edited by the hosting job board. Some job boards even allow for multiple company profiles that can be individually linked to a respective job posting (allowing recruiters to add information on each respective client, and contractors the opportunity to promote information about their various divisional offices).

Contact Information
It is essential to put contact information on all forms and in all appropriate fields. Contractors should make it easy for a job seeker to apply. Most job seekers prefer email. Some prefer using mail, fax or phone calls before sending their confidential resume. It is appropriate to specify a preferred contact method, and request that all applications include the respective Job ID. By having several contact methods and the contact name (not just a department) of a real person, a job seeker is more likely to believe the job is valid and apply.

Job Identification (ID)
For job postings, contractors should use a tracking system to provide a unique Job ID for each job posting and require that job seekers reference this ID on applications whether faxed, emailed, or mailed. This allows contractors to know which site – and specifically which ad – brought in the respective application. Information as to where the best applications come from will help contractors to know what job boards have been the most productive sources of talent.

Job Responsibilities
Job Responsibilities are simply the job requirements for the position. In order to get the best response, contractors should list why the requirements are there. Examples would be: “A Bachelor of Arts Degree is required to help lead Corporate Communications” or “We require seven years of project management experience for commercial building projects. This position will manage three Project Managers and seven Project Engineers”. Make clear the “required” qualifications and the “desired” skills. Avoid clich’s or trite phrases like “self-motivated”, “team player”, and “fast-paced” (making the job posting appear common). Contractors can also use the Job Responsibilities field as an eliminator of unwanted resumes by making qualifying statements (“Applicants must have a minimum of six consecutive years with the same general contractor. Otherwise, please do not apply.”). In order to eliminate many unwanted job seekers, contractors can also add qualifying phrases such as “background checks are performed in the hiring process” or “personality testing is used in the hiring process”.

Salary
Many contractors refuse to post salary information in job postings. Salary figures make job postings credible, and substantially improve the job seeker response rate. It is also one of the most widely searched fields on a job posting. Job seekers are typically more interested in the salary than any other item in a job description. According to executive recruiter, Chuck Groom of CC Group, Inc., money is one of the top reasons why people leave their job. Job seekers do not want to waste time with a job that may not pay what they require. When a salary figure is lacking, they will assume that the contractor may be embarrassed by the level of salary level – or have something to hide. Phrases such as “Salary is commensurate with experience, N/A, Open, or Depends on experience” do not prove effective. They will actually significantly reduce response rate to a job posting.

Work Status
An important qualifier, that is often overlooked, is the work status field. With the international reach of the Internet, more and more foreigners (without valid work visas) are applying to United States job postings. Contractors can eliminate many foreign applications by simply stating “applicants must be United States citizens”, or “only United States citizens or those with valid work visas need apply”, or “you must have clearance to work in the United States to be considered for this position”.

Location
Most major job boards require the location field to be completed. Although many recruiters refuse to identify job locations (in fear of disclosing their clients need for confidentiality), listing the job location is one of the main fields that job seekers search. Job seekers from all over the country/world may see the job posting. Without a valid city noted, job seekers must guess the job location. They often will not apply because they think that the posting is in an undesirable location, or that it’s invalid to serve only as a ploy to collect resumes.

Best Places to Post an Internet Job Posting
There are several good choices for contractors who want to post their jobs online. However, the key is to find job boards that to provide the “right” viewers – as well as a large volume of “right” viewers. Contractors want their job posting to be seen by as many relevant viewers as possible. However, although most job boards charge similar fees for services, their volume of viewers can vary dramatically. Many contractors will choose to post jobs online with traditional, well-known, off-line businesses that have a job board presence online. However, the online job posting business (like any Internet business) is a unique business that requires an entirely different set of rules and business acumen. The off-line leaders are rarely the leaders in the online world. In selecting the right job board, contractors should compare results based on verifiable industry standards. One way to make an accurate comparison is through Amazon’s Alexa Research, which can be downloaded at Alexa.com and easily attached to a web browser. Once installed, this tool will indicate a web site’s visitor traffic (based on a common standard, and measured against the entire seventeen million plus web-sites currently on the Internet).