Thought I'd share today's experience from an employer's point of view.
We just advertised a part-time position as a corporate trainer through a free website today. Within minutes of posting the ad, application emails and CVs started streaming in. I was hopeful! Wow, a lot of candidates to choose from!
Then I started reading the emails. You know, you'd think people looking for jobs would actually put in some effort. As a screening test, I instructed people to send their CVs to a specific email address (instead of clicking the 'submit resume' button on the website).
We've received 29 applications so far.
Only 6 people read the instructions and sent their application letters to the correct address. They automatically made it to the second round, including the ones who were not as qualified.
Things people did that got them disqualified:
- Mass application (with twenty other employers' email addresses in the CC box)
- Sloppy emails like cutting and pasting their resume in the body of the message without an introduction, using random multi-colored texts for not apparent reason with constantly changing font sizes, misspelling a lot of things (including their own names)
- Clear signs they did not read the ad: applying for the wrong job, expecting a full-time position, etc.
- Emails full of demands: especially things like "I would like the employer to provide me with XYZ" or "Only employers who [insert condition] will be considered"
- 'Scans' of relevant documents using their phones. The attached photos are usually gigantic, unprintable, and include a good portion of table, rug, or whatever surface they put their documents on when they took the picture.
Things that were not that bad but should have been avoided:
- Sending your CV as an ODT file
- Sending multiple emails, with one containing your cover letter, one containing your CV, and one containing your photo, and the last one explaining that you have sent 3 emails (why?)
- Sending questionable photos of yourself doing your favorite hobby (playing soccer, playing the guitar with an ultimate rock star expression on your face)
- Including very long paragraphs about how passionate you are about your hobbies that have nothing to do with the job description
- Humorous (but inappropriate) email sender names
- Padding your previous jobs with overly-positive words, like claiming you have developed excellent interpersonal skills from having worked as a phone operator.
Things that made my day better:
- Cover letters! Yes, we read them! People immediately get extra marks for personalizing the letters (showing that they have read and understood the requirements in the ad and that they have at least decent communication skills). It is great if you cut to the chase and say you are applying for this job because you have relevant experience, and say briefly what those experiences are. Don't start with "I'm a very friendly and professional person and I believe I have skills and expertise that will be beneficial to your company..."
- Professional-looking CVs, especially in pdf form. Only 2 people have pdf CVs -- and they are so much better than those messy Microsoft Word ones! If you really need to use a Word CV, try to make it clean, simple, with 'normal' margins and formatting so that there's a higher chance it will show up properly on other computers.
- Proper grammar, capitalization and punctuation. It makes reading your thing easier, you know.
So, what I'm trying to say is: job-hunting is hard and stressful, but being professional improves your chances a lot.