Here is a tough pill to swallow. All this time, you have been dutifully pressing that ‘submit’ button and sending out as many applications as you can to every job posting that catches your eye. Theoretically, if you send out fifty applications, at least 1/50 has to stick, right? Well, not necessarily. While the scattergun approach to sending out the same CV and cover letter to every single job that is even slightly relevant to your experience or educational background can work, it definitely isn’t the most effective means of finding a job.
‘Then what is the most effective way to apply for a job? Competition is tough and you need to keep your options open.’ Might be what you’re thinking right now.
It is true that the Middle East and North Africa job market is highly competitive and that it is difficult to stand out in a sea of talent. Certainly, you have the option of applying for as many jobs as you would like to. However, the issue lies within sending the same application materials to each and every job posting that interests you.
No matter how you look at it, a generic one-size-fits-all CV and cover letter are not going to reflect your full potential. On the other hand, a tailored CV and cover letter will showcase all your potential, interest and dedication much more to the employer.
And that’s the ultimate goal here. Impressing the employer and passing the first stage of the job-seeking process: getting your CV noticed. So, how can you give your 100% to your applications and impress the employers?
It’s simpler than you think. If you follow the below steps, your chances of successfully passing the CV-viewing stage will be multiplied.
- Completely Fresh
If you have a Bayt.com profile, you have probably already noticed a percentage on your CV page. It can read anywhere between zero and 100% depending on your CV completeness. You may or may not know exactly why CV completeness is so important. The first thing you should know is that having a CV which is over 80% complete increases your visibility to employers who are headhunting candidates for their vacancies. The other thing you need to know is that employers can actually filter out applications that don’t meet a certain standard of CV completeness.
So, theoretically, you could be fully qualified for a position, have an immaculate cover letter and have a somewhat complete CV at 65%, and still be filtered out because your CV does not meet the standards of completeness the employer desires. Beyond that, completing your online CV signifies to the employer just how much effort you are capable of investing. A CV with a low completeness score sends the wrong message and probably won’t even fall on the employer’s radar because they probably have plenty of CVs with higher completion percentages in their inbox.
Additionally, you need to make sure your CV is fresh. What this means is that your CV has been recently updated. You don’t actually have to change anything hugely, but every now and then review it, add or remove a word, fix the formatting and alignment. Employers can also filter out candidates based on the freshness of their CV. If you think about it, there is no way of knowing if an older CV is up to date or not and employers prefer to not waste their time on a CV that might no longer be relevant or for an active job seeker.
- The Right Ingredients
Another thing you need to consider when applying for jobs is how relevant your CV is to the position you are applying for. Of course, Bayt.com alerts you whenever your CV is not relevant to the job, but you might very well have a background in the industry or the role itself and still find yourself faced with a low CV relevancy score. After which, you might think to yourself, obviously this is a mistake on Bayt’s part and you proceed to send out the application anyway.
Let’s go back to an earlier point about one-size-fits-all CVs. The reason these do not always work is that even if you are applying for mostly similar positions, each employer will be looking for something specific from their candidates. There is certainly a lot of overlap, but why take the risk of sending out a CV with low relevance?
Instead, you should make it a point to carefully read through the job description, which is your primary source of information when it comes to assessing what the employer wants to hear, and tailor your CV accordingly. After all, your CV might be relevant in your opinion, but it could be missing crucial keywords, skills and experience and that would immediately send your CV to the unseen pile.
As for how CV relevancy works, a CV’s relevance is determined by the below factors:
- Meeting the job’s “Residence Location” requirement
- Meeting the job role and industry
- Meeting the job’s “Experience” requirement
- Meeting the job’s “Education” requirements
- Meeting the job’s career level.
- If the job title matches words in the CV (experiences, target job title, etc…).
- If the job’s specialties matches words in the CV (experiences, target job title, skills, etc…).
Always make sure that CV is truly relevant to a job before applying to save both you and the employer’s time. I once wanted to apply for a job that I did not have the required skillset for, and I worked especially hard on that application. I wrote a cover letter stressing that although I did not fit the residence location or have the required amount of experience, I would be passionate and dedicated to the job. Now, I did not get that job, but the employer did get in touch and let me know they thoroughly enjoyed my application and encourage me to apply for something a little more fitting for my skills.
Other than the obvious ego boost, what this taught me was that no matter how good you are, you must also have the relevant skills. I would not term that as a waste of my time, but I certainly believe that if I had spent that much effort on every job I applied for, and applied that much care into applications better suited to my CV and experience, I would have had a higher chance of success.
- Extra Syrup, Please!
The last thing you should consider is if you really gave an application your 100% before applying. A lot of the time when you apply for a job, extra application material is not mandatory. For example, there is the option of attaching a cover letter, but it is not explicitly required by the employer. You might feel tempted to simply submit your application and move onto the next thing on your list of potential jobs. Don’t do that!
Don’t fall into the trap of complacency. Think of it this way. Would you rather have bake fifty cupcakes that are just kind of…whatever, or settle for less at excellent quality? This analogy applies to applications, too. Instead of spreading the ingredients between many, you should focus on less and make them richer. With time and practice, you will even be able to tailor and submit cover letters and CVs at a faster pace, allowing you to apply for more jobs each and every time.
At the end of the day, this is just one way of doing your job hunting and the choice is yours. Ask yourself: What’s better: The efficiency of frequently sending out applications to as many employers as possible, or the effectiveness of sending out high-quality applications no matter how long it takes?