To bring into context the advice I’m about to share, we must start at the end of the story, and a situation, I as a recruiter am now faced with.

Let’s fast-forward to today (Tuesday), and all I can say, is, what a frustrating week it’s been for us in terms of finding the right candidate. Now I don’t mind if the right candidate doesn’t exist at this moment in time, but our frustration at present comes from the sheer number of candidates we have applying for a job that they either already know they’re not qualified for, or haven’t taken the time to properly digest the job description and identify whether they meet the employers criteria or not.

As do many recruiters, I regularly come across job hunters complaining that agencies never call them and they never hear back after applying for a job. Well to give you a little perspective from the other side of the fence, there is nothing harder for agencies and companies than having to go through hundreds and hundreds of applications, from candidates who’ve clearly applied for a job on the basis that it was advertised, and therefore that must equal an opportunity. So what do we as recruiters do in these situations?? We end up rejecting candidate after candidate, and with so many to digest and process, we are unfortunately left with no time to give the unsuccessful applicants the feedback they both want and need.

So, if for whatever reason, your job hunt has reached this point, and you’re just applying for everything and anything to see whether you strike lucky, then unfortunately you’re wasting both yours and the recruiters time, and limiting the chances of securing the job you’d really like to get. If you think about it, would you take this type of anything will do strategy into that new job you so desperately want? If tasked with a project from you’re new boss or line manager, would you just hand them back anything, instead of what they actually asked for? Well, the answer is of course not, so why try and impress this same, potential future employer with just any old application, for what you are communicating to them is not the job you really want, or more importantly know how to do?

The key to successful job hunting is to work smart. First, be specific, identify the industry, and position you’d like a career in, and then filter out the adverts on the job boards that meet you’re criteria. Remember an employer isn’t just selecting you, you’re meant to be selecting them, and telling them why you’re the right person for the job and their company. Once you’ve done this, you need to start thinking about how you’re going to tailor each application to best present the skills and attributes you have that make you suitable for the role. A good place to start here is to research the company, or similar positions. At this point make sure the target (job) you have set yourself is achievable, and within your capability. Remember you need to get passed the first hurdle, which is usually an agency, and they’ll know straight away if you’re stretching the truth. Finally set yourself a realistic timescale to land your dream job. Giving yourself 6 weeks, as opposed to 6 days, will prevent you from rushing and sending out the wrong message to potential employers. All of the above applies to every job from an administrator through to a professional.

Just remember, contrary to popular belief, recruitment agencies are looking forward to hearing from you, and want you to apply for the jobs they advertise. You just need to make sure you treat you’re job hunt with the same level of care as you will you’re new job! That respect will be returned by a courteous call from the recruiter, discussing with you the opportunity, and even if you are not right, at least you get some feedback to help you with the next approach you make.