As a recruiter, I get asked all the time by job seekers for my opinion on CV layouts, cover letters, length of resume, picture or no picture and so on and so on.

The problem I have is I want to give them all the same answer;

I don’t know and no recruiter does…

The only person who knows how they like to receive applications is the hiring manager themselves and unfortunately, they won’t tell you, or will they?

Here are 3 easy tips that might help when you next apply for a role;

1.    Call the person on the advert, introduce yourself and flatter them and the agency a little, tell them the role interests you (if it does) but you have a couple of quick questions before you apply.

Here’s a couple of examples;

  • Why specifically is the role available?
  • What is the culture like of the agency?
  • Do they like to receive collateral alongside a CV?

Let them know you’ll be applying soon and thank them for their time, trust me they’ll remember you when they’re wading through the responses.

2.    Swot up on the company before you apply, in my opinion, covering letters aren’t read anymore, however, you need to amend your personal profile from;

“I am a creative, professional, conscientious etc. etc. snore snore”

to something that links your skills to their requirements and why the role suits your career and personal aspirations.

The cold hard fact is, if your CV looks like you’ve shown no real interest in the role, then why would you expect any real interest in your application?

3.    Follow up with an email 1-2 weeks later, just because you haven’t heard it doesn’t mean you’re unsuccessful.

Hiring managers generally have multiple plates spinning and it is professional to follow up and give a gentle nudge, they’ll appreciate it if it’s done well rather than

“hey, why haven’t you come back to me yet”

Just remember, hiring managers are human just like you and probably have lots of internal pressure to find the right candidate for their business.

Contrary to popular belief it’s not a candidate driven market out there, there’s just lots of people looking for new roles and as such there’s a lot of competition for places in a market that is tightening its belt.

The key when applying is to be heard above the noise and this old saying always rings true;

“It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear”

What advice can you pass on to someone applying for a role from either a client or candidate perspective?

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