Audir recently recruited an entry-level position for one of our clients.
Often, we assist clients to search for talent in skills shortage areas (a fun problem-solving game!). Recruiting for this position was a stark reminder of the challenges that face those applying for non-skills shortage positions.
The insights below are gleaned from my observations over the years and provide some guidance for those beginning their journey into the workforce!
Numbers: With our recent recruitment campaign, in the space of two days we received 90 applications, not one of which I would classify as a “time waster” – all applicants were keen to be considered for this opportunity. Due to the quality of applicants, we closed the job after a very short time.
Lesson: If you see a job you’re keen on, work your butt off to apply ASAP!
No Cover letter: When there’s many applicants, recruiters need to be ruthless. If your application arrives without a cover letter, there’s every chance you’ll be taken out of the running before we even get to your resume.
Cover letter Don’ts: Please, I beg of you, do not send a cover letter that tells me how you need this job because your Aunty Suzie’s cousin’s cat is dying and you need money to help her. While sad situations are a reality, and these DO pull at our heart strings, recruiters cannot progress an applicant based on pity.
A pet dislike of mine is a cover letter where the applicant makes it very clear that they want any old job, for example: “I want a job so I can leave school” is not going to win you many brownie points.
Cover letter Do’s: Research the business – what are their values? What appeals to you about their industry? Take your cues from the job ad when developing your cover letter.
Recruiters have little time for a generic cover letter – we want to know that you really do want this job and that you’re self-aware enough to identify the qualities you have that suit the position.
Yes, this takes time, but it’s way more likely to a) help you decide if you even want the job and b) get you to the next stage of the recruitment process.
Resumes: For an entry-level position, it is accepted that there may not be much information you can provide about paid work. If this is the case for you, focus on your personal attributes and hobbies (particularly where they directly relate to the role).
For example, if the job requires a high level of physicality, include information about the sports you’ve played. If the role requires creativity and attention to detail, highlight your artistic pursuits. Include memberships of community groups (e.g. “Army Cadets” automatically instils a picture of “discipline” and “commitment”; membership of a choir or sports team evokes the values of “teamwork” and “reliability”; volunteering to do odd jobs for the elderly gives a picture of “Respect” and “Family values”.)
Potential employers want to see that you have initiative and a strong work ethic, so although you may not have worked in paid employment, we want to know that you have contributed to your community in some way.
And finally – proof-read and spellcheck!!! For some people, typos immediately tell the reader that “quality” and “attention to detail” are lacking!