January and February are the best months to apply for a new job, Jazz Gandhum, from e-learning site e-Careers.co.uk explains.
Why? The days immediately following a Christmas break are when the greatest numbers of decision-makers are together in the office, says Managing Director, Jazz Gandhum.
It’s also when many companies set their recruitment budgets for the year following December’s staff annual bonus payout.
But new statistics released by employment blog site Workopolis reveal only 2% of candidates who apply for new roles are shortlisted for interview.
And that’s because more than 75% of them don’t have the right qualifications for the job.
Jazz says it’s vital to make sure your skill set fits the essential criteria laid out in the job description.
For even the best candidates, lacking the skills required in just one area will mean your application is consigned to the bin before you’ve even had a chance to meet the boss.
So how do you ensure you’re at the top of your game?
Jazz offers five top tips to help you land that dream job:
Tailor your CV to every role you apply for
“One CV does not fit all,” says Jazz. “If you’re going for a customer service-based job, there’s no point in shouting loudly about your marketing experience straight off. Make sure your most relevant experience is at the top of the first page of your CV – and give examples of times you were shown to be adept at the particular skills they’re looking for.”
“Finally, keep it short. CVs should never be longer than two sides.”
Write a sparkling covering letter
“‘Please find my application form attached,’ is not a covering letter,” says Jazz.
“It’s the quickest way to get someone to delete your email before they’ve even opened the attachment. Tell the company why you want to work for them. Outline some of their successes you’ve been particularly impressed with, and finish with a line that says you’re available for interview whenever they need you.”
“The name of the game is to look keen and clued up. Research is key.”
Update existing skills
Even if you’re an old hand at whatever job you’re applying for, it’s time to update your skills.
“Technology moves on at such a colossal pace these days, it’s hard to keep up,” says Jazz. “But you have to, because you can bet the next person in line for your dream job will have done just that. If marketing is your field, make sure you’re up to date with the latest social media trends; read what the best marketers in the business are saying about the industry, etc.”
Learn new skills
“If you’re going for a wholesale career change, there’s no point in thinking you can just parachute yourself into a new job because that’s what you want to do,” Jazz says. “It won’t work.”
“Review training and development opportunities, or enrol on an e-learning course that you can complete in your own time, at your own pace. It’ll mean you’re getting the most up-to-date information – that maybe even your potential new boss isn’t aware of.”
Present yourself in the best possible light
Few of us relish the prospect of an interview. They’re nerve-wracking at the best of times. Studies show communication is just 7% what you say, 38% the tone you use and 55% body language.
“Landing an interview is only the first step in the process,” says Jazz. “It’s essential to present yourself in the best light – confident without being arrogant, well-researched without being creepy. Selling ourselves isn’t always the most natural thing, so take the time to prepare and even review content or online courses that will improve your confidence and diminish the nerves.”
Jazz Gandhum, Managing Director, e-Careers