Only 6 months ago people could pick and choose where they wanted to work and employers had to accommodate & tolerate or be accepting of potentially challenging staff issues because it was hard to find staff, let alone great staff. During those times it was pretty well accepted that applicants would send out a generic covering letter to plenty of potential employers, go to interviews as they saw fit and accepted whichever role they liked most, often based on the salary and perks of the position.
Well in case you hadn’t noticed, times have changed, and employees need to become more aware they’re fighting for a limited number of positions and are probably up against a large number of applicants, so the time is right to step up and put the extra time and effort in to outshine your competing candidates, but this doesn’t seem to be happening... yet. During these times where unemployment is on the rise and job security seems to be plummeting by the day, I’m amazed on a daily basis at the calibre of applications that make their way to my inbox. I regularly receive covering letters with the wrong company & contact name (no I’m not from the sandwich bar and I don’t really care about your work in the local deli making sandwiches for them), wrong position/title or just completely generic letters, and while these are par for the course at the moment, these applications are simply ignored – don’t think I’m too harsh, our job ads clearly specify a personalised covering letter is required along with a current resume or the application will not be considered or responded to.
However, one recent applicant led me to respond to his attempts in the hope that he might have a better chance to get a job if he changes his approach. Here’s my response to him below:
Further to your application for the carer role and your visit to our office I thought I'd provide you with some feedback in the hope it assists you in finding employment in the future. Please don't take these as criticisms, but as a helping hand and constructive feedback about your approach to employment with Platinum Healthcare.
1. Read the job ad CAREFULLY: If you re-read our ad on Seek, you'll see the following at the bottom in bold writing - "IMPORTANT: PLEASE DON'T click 'apply now,' apply directly through our website as applications submitted through Seek & not through our website will not be considered or responded to."
2. When submitting your application, take the extra few minutes to customise your application letter to the position you're applying for. Simply attaching your resume twice instead of including a covering letter shows that you're too lazy to do a covering letter. Not correctly referring to the position you're applying for or the criteria required for that position also shows potential employers that you're lazy. This may take an extra 10 minutes for each application but may mean the difference between getting an interview or not getting an interview.
3. Unannounced visits: Other employers may be different (but I suspect they feel the same as us on this), but at Platinum Healthcare we're very busy and don't appreciate unannounced visits from people interested in a job. If you don't follow the appropriate channels and apply online or send in your resume or whatever is required, you're unlikely to be considered for a job. This doesn't show that you're keen, it comes across more as being pushy and that your time is more valuable that your prospective employers' that you would expect them to drop everything to talk to you about giving you a job. A follow-up phone call to check your resume has been received is more than enough to show that you're interested without being too pushy.
Unfortunately at this point in time I am not willing to consider you for a position with Platinum Healthcare however I hope the above information is useful and assists you in gaining employment in the near future and I wish you all the best with your endeavours. Kind Regards Dave Stallard
I didn’t receive a response to the above e-mail so I’m not sure if this particular applicant took this feedback on board and changed his approach, or if in fact he took offence to the above feedback and decided to continue doing what he’s been doing in the hope one day he’ll be in the right place at the right time. Until that day comes, I hope this applicant and all others out there looking for work, no matter what the industry, will take a few extra minutes to ensure their covering letter is strong (including correct spelling & grammar), addresses the criteria outlined in the job ad, and helps ensure the person reading these documents doesn’t feel like they’re one of 100 people reading the exact same letter.
This is just one way to help your chances of securing an interview, and there’s a whole different challenge you’d better be ready for because if you’re not (or even if you are), others are.