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The 11-point plan to help you get closer to the job you've applied

Basic information and presentations skills that can help you land a job are no classified secrets. However, there are some tips, if remembered, can only increase your chances of getting the job you’ve applied for and put on a strong platform when compared to other candidates.

Each company has a different set of criteria when it comes to choosing people, however, there are some common factors that may put you in or out of favour when it comes to getting a job in the country.

Here are my 11 bits of information that will help you inch closer to the job you’ve just applied for or are still in the process of doing so.

#1 Is a recruiter really worth his money?

Signing up with a recruiter doesn’t guarantee you a job. If not, what are they up to? Well, an agency recruiter finds candidates for jobs that their client has given them and not the other way around. An internal recruiter, on the other hand, finds employees for their own company. Most recruiters are not job centres. They are incentivised to find candidates for jobs they are working on and not jobs for candidates who are looking for work.

#2 Be professional in your approach – that also applies to your e-mail ID

When approaching a potential employer you have to be very professional. Yes, attire, the way you speak, carry yourself and even your body language – we’ve heard it all. But one thing that many candidates often forget is the kind of e-mail ID they use.

When applying for jobs, make sure you use a professional e-mail address and not one that looks like ‘gamerboy24x7’, ‘party.girl’, or ‘i_heart_kangaroos’.

It’s not only unprofessional but will not serve the purpose when a recruiter tries to look for your mail in his mailbox, one that may have been flooded with job applications.

Always remember, recruiters search for your profile by name or the subject of your e-mail. E-mail addresses are free – pick one only for job applications and career related e-mails as well as LinkedIn.

#3 Stick to one version of your CV

Some candidates believe it is a good idea to have more than one version of their résumé. Well, it doesn’t and here is a simple reason why. Thanks to technology, recruiters (internal and agency) might already have a copy of your résumé on file. If the latest version you send in varies significantly from what they already have, you are setting off red flags. Most recruiters will advise you to elaborate your relevance to the role either in a cover letter or summary but the job titles/dates of employment/scope of work done should remain unchanged and you might also lose track of which version was sent to whom.

#4 Recruiters may not be Sherlock, but they are smart

Think that recruiters aren’t private investigators in their spare time – think again. The first thing recruiters do when they see a good profile is look up the applicant on LinkedIn, Facebook or other professional and social networks and do a general web search of your name or your e-mail address. Finding out about your unhealthy social life outside of work – including embarrassing pictures – will guarantee you don’t get a call back.

#5 Apply for what you are suited

Only apply to jobs that match your skills and experience or positions very close to them. This will give you a better chance of finding your next career move. Most recruiters (internal and external) receive applications in one central e-mail box. If you tend to apply to each and every job that a company posts, the recruiter sees that you have applied for multiple jobs and will generally select all your applications – and delete them.

#6 To be or not to be: An active or a passive job seeker?

If you are happy in your present job, don’t have your résumé floating on job boards. Let a headhunter contact you. If you are actively looking for a job, be active on LinkedIn and pick jobs boards relevant to your skills to post your résumé on. Posting your CV on every job board does not increase your chances of finding a new job. You need to apply to jobs that match your skill. Finding a new job is a job in itself.

#7 Most are wary of hoppers

Most companies will look for candidates who have spent a minimum of two years in their current company. If you have spent less time than that, you need to have a very good reason why you are looking out. Recruiters and future employers tend to look at you as the problem rather than your present employer if you are a hopper. You need to have a very valid reason why you are looking for another job so quickly.

#8 Please be traceable

If a recruiter sees a good profile/ résumé, they want to get in touch with you right away. Your contact information, which includes e-mail and phone number, must be up-to-date. If you are concerned about receiving requests at your work e-mail or number – don’t list them. The mobile on your résumé must be accessible by you and not one that will change if you change employment. And you should regularly monitor the e-mail address you list.

#9 What do screening questions do?

Jobs descriptions are a guide and give clues about what the recruiter is really looking for and that is why there are screening questions on job boards/sites. Not all answers to job applications are a ‘yes’. I have periodically posed questions where the answer should be a ‘no’. For example, questions like – ‘Do you have work ethics that is questioned by your superiors?’ or ‘Are you applying for this job without reading the description?’ – should not have a ‘yes’ as an answer.

#10 Money talk and the frills

Negotiating salaries is always the tough bit. Recruiters typically get paid on what you get paid. So, there is little incentive for them to reduce the salary. What they are privy to is the budget that the client has given them and what other people at that grade get paid.

As far as benefits are concerned, this is a significant cost to the company. Most clients have different levels of benefits they will give. Recruiters don’t get paid on what you get as benefits but tend to negotiate what is the best for you and within the client’s range of what they can pay.

#11 Attention to detail

One pet peeve of recruiters is that candidates who have spelling mistakes in the subject or the body of an e-mail and the other is attention to detail. It may not appear to be important, but it creates an impression. Double/triple check your spellings before you send out an e-mail. Have someone else read it. Look for inconsistencies – dates, numbers, tank instead of thank. And, if you think you do pay attention to detail – then look again – couple of bullets may be missing.