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How to avoid an eerie silence from your job application

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Applying for a job today is often too easy: a couple of clicks on LinkedIn will see your CV submitted; job boards have shopping carts to enable multiple applications at once; and Google’s own simple online application form takes under two minutes and therefore receives 2.5m applicants a year. Technology has made the candidate experience fast and the employer experience convenient, but does it always work well for either side?

When you’re out of work, people will encourage you that it’s a numbers game and, quite rightly, to not give up applying. Once your CV is up to date, there are hundreds of online avenues you can explore and less discerning candidates will fire off dozens of job applications at once in the hope that something sticks, but herein lays a problem.

A candidate ought to be as selective as an employer and only apply for positions where they match the required criteria. Job descriptions need to be considered properly, because if not, chances are that nothing but silence will come back the other way, given unsuccessful applicants are often not contacted at all.

Typically, the hiring manager will have a wish list of “must have” attributes that they want to see in a candidate and as such the application criteria is guided by this. It’s not always a perfect science when you consider that candidates are encouraged to promote transferable skills or to be ambitious if they haven’t quite got the experience. However, if an employer requires a certain qualification, for example, ACA qualified, then CIMA and ACCA applicants will not necessarily fit the role and, depending on the volume of ACA applicants, may not be considered at all, however strong their transferable skills.

We often hear of candidates offended by a lack of response to an application, as if they have wasted their time. On closer inspection, they have almost always applied for a position where they don’t meet the advertised criteria. On the other side of the fence, recent research claims that 20% of employers say that applicants don’t have the relevant experience or technical skills for the job, wasting a fifth of their time too. Our advice is always to read the criteria carefully and, to avoid disappointment or waiting, only apply when you know you meet it.