Regardless of the reason, applying for jobs is not on anyone’s top ten list of favourite pastimes. It can be a time-consuming process that is emotionally draining. This is, however, one task that should not be undertaken haphazardly and must be given the effort needed to yield positive results.
The first step in any job application process is to update your curriculum vitae (CV) with your latest employment history and recognised achievements. Having a presentable CV is essential for success in the job application process, but this is only the beginning of the process. Next, you will have to consider how to go about finding and landing the job that is right for you.
Very often candidates are willing to do any job and will send their CV to all possible positions. “You never know” is the thought that comes to mind while pressing the 'apply' button. The shotgun approach is to apply for as many jobs as possible and see which one hits the target. This, from our experience, is not the best way of going about a successful job search. Like the proverb says: “If you chase two rabbits you will catch none.”
Now, what is the alternative? Set clear goals of what you to want to achieve and target your efforts. This is why a targeted job application approach yields far better results than the shotgun approach.
Why the targeted approach?
Oversupply of workforce
The current unemployment rate in South Africa is 26.7% with the unemployment rate of women being 29,5%. This means that there is an oversupply of labour and the competition for any one role is plentiful. More people with similar qualifications are applying for the same job. The CV that demonstrates the skills and past experience best suited to the job specification is more likely to be considered than a broad-based CV.
Don’t sacrifice your values
If you follow the shotgun approach and are willing to take the first opportunity that comes your way, you might find yourself in a position that does not align with your values. This creates an unpleasant work environment where you find yourself back in the job market sooner than you expected.
Rather spend the time creating quality applications than apply for too many non-relevant jobs. Applying for too many jobs that do not match your skill-set will lead to more rejections which will lead to job application burnout and drain you emotionally. Rather take the time to submit targeted applications with a higher likelihood of success.
Hit the mark
Remember that recruiters do not know what you are capable of unless you spell it out clearly in your CV and covering letter. If you look at the job description and think that you might be able to do the job, take care to demonstrate why you are suitable clearly and simply in your CV. Recruiters look for CV’s that are closely correlated with the job specification and employer needs. Have a look at the diagram below. If your CV clearly indicates that your education, skills gained and experience overlaps with what the company needs, your CV is more likely to be amongst the final candidates.
How to implement the targeted approach
Firstly, think about what you want to achieve with the job application. Are you moving to increase your work experience or salary? The company you are going to apply to, must align with your goals for it to be a mutually beneficial move.
Do a needs analysis
Think about where the company must be located and what level of flexibility you need. Set a salary bracket, which will make it worth your while to move. Search and apply only for positions that fit with your needs.
Research the industry
Research the industry standard salary for the job you qualify for, this will give you the confidence when it comes to salary negotiations. See if there are any industry terms that have changed and update your CV with the correct terms to stay current.
Align your CV information with the job description
You can be missing the mark with your CV, not because you are not qualified to do the job, but rather that you did not spend the time to align the information on your CV with the job description.
Apply for jobs you can do
There is an unwritten rule, that if you look at the job description and you feel you can do 80% of it comfortably and the 20% will be something you can learn and pick up quickly, then this job is worth applying for.
Finding the right job can be an exhausting and exhilarating process. Taking the time to do research and set goals as to what the ideal job looks like will reduce the stress and anxiety often associated with the job search. Targeted job searches will yield higher returns than a shotgun approach.
Ready to apply for the job of your dreams? Register on our award-winning recruitment site and fill in your detailed CV. When applying for positions, you will be given the opportunity to compose your perfect motivational cover letter for prospective employers.