The successful job application strategy: Spend more time on fewer applications
The online automation of job applications has made applying for jobs easier then ever before. You can apply for multiple jobs literally at the click of a button. However, I believe this gives job seekers a false impression. Whilst it may be true that the process of applying is easier, it does not necessarily follow that applying for lots of jobs with one CV is the best strategy. Sure, you may eventually get an interview this way, but will it be a job you really care about?
Frustration with the scattergun approach
In my job I speak to many frustrated job seekers. Some of these have applied for 100s of jobs and been more than a little frustrated that this has yielded little return. The answer to this next question usually provides the answer: “Do you tailor your CV for each application?” The answer is either an outright ‘no’ or there may be a guilty pause and then a fumbled answer “well I try to”. Getting your CV to a good state is one thing, tailoring it to a specific job is quite another. You need to do both.
Not all similar job titles carry the same responsibility
You may be very clear about the type of jobs you are targeting. But even this does not mean you can sit back with one version of your CV targeted at ‘finance manager’ or ‘customer service manager’ roles. The challenge is that job descriptions for even the same job titles can vary tremendously. Try a little test – research three job descriptions for the same job title online and then read them individually. There will no doubt be many differences between them. So, how can you expect your one CV to connect and be aligned to all three?
Aim to get your CV 90% there
If you are in the process of getting your CV into shape and are not applying for a specific role, then you are really aiming to get a CV that is 90% there. Once you have your CV up-to-speed, tailoring your CV should not be as arduous as it might first seem. If you are open to two or three different career pathways – then you will need an equivalent number of CV versions, each of which may be 90% there. If tailoring 10% of your CV for each job application still seems too much work, then you really need to be asking yourself…
How much do I want this job?
Being in a job you find fulfilling and rewarding is one of the most important decisions you ever make. It’s something that will most likely be taking up 30 hours of your week for many years. Rather than applying for 100s of jobs you ‘know you can do’ why not concentrate on a smaller number you get genuinely excited about? Concentrate your time on jobs where you feel an affinity with the organisation and how you can contribute. You will be much happier and more productive in a role you enjoy but that’s not just about finding the fastest route to escaping the current role you detest. It’s about finding a job you really care about. And it all starts with tailoring your CV first.