Saturday, 15 September 2012

I keep getting rejections, what shall I do?

A question that I’m sure has been asked by many  in this difficult climate. Sometimes you can spend hours or even days on applications and still find that you’ve fallen short at the first hurdle. Some employers don’t even bother to inform you or take the time out to give you feedback. More often than not, many graduate applications will appear to go unnoticed or just receive a standard rejection. However, there is a way forward and below I’ve supplied a few tips to help you on your way to success.

1)Question your application
If getting rejections is a recurring outcome for you then a good place to start would be to question your application. This may be difficult at first as you’re the one that’s written it, but put yourself in the position of the receiver who no doubt will receive hundreds of applications.  Have a read of my questions below as a starting point.

Have you tailored your CV and cover letter?
If you haven’t then you don’t stand a chance. This should be considered second nature when it comes to your graduate applications.

Is your application just full of ‘empty words’?
By this I mean, are you simply stating that you’re very hard working and not supplying any evidence or an explanation as to why you’ve said it. Empty phrases like this on their own do not add anything to your application. Make sure you give these phrases have a purpose otherwise erase them.

Is your application relevant to the job you’re applying for?
For instance, if your cover letter and CV is based around your entire editorial experience and you’re going for a social media role, then you’d be best off just relating your social media experience in your application. For example, stating that you’ve written/edited articles will not suffice. Better examples will consist of ‘In my previous placement I have written tweets and posted on Facebook to drive a marketing campaign’. You may have been working in the editorial department but you’ve at least tried to relate your previous work experience to the role.

Does your application give a genuine interest in the company?
This will come back to how well you’ve tailored your CV and cover letter. If it’s been tailored well, it will mention the company a few times and give an indication as to why you’re applying to that company. For example, you may have a personal interest in the books that they publish.

Are you standing out?
Obvious examples of standing out are if for instance, you are applying for a creative role and you can be visually creative with your application. In an editorial role this may be more difficult, but by just creating a portfolio in the format of a word document including your CV, cover letter and writing samples is an obvious start. Other simple ways of standing out will be to make sure your application fits what they’re specifying as the ‘ideal candidate’. Make sure this is clear in your application. See my previous blog post for job seekers for more information on the ‘ideal candidate’. 

2)Explore the field – what does a successful candidate have that you don’t?
I don’t expect you to be a psychic and know what other successful applications look like, but the point is to know why you’re falling short. For instance, do you have no experience in the roles that you’re going for? Do you have no experience in the relevant field? Do you not have the right qualification? All these facets need to be examined. The good thing about being a jobseeker is that you have the time to examine what is going wrong with your applications and then you have a chance to make some positive steps to making your applications better in future. 

3)Ask advice from others
If you feel comfortable, why not show one of your friends or parents your most recent application and see if they can give you any advice. Sometimes others can notice things that you’ve missed. If you don’t feel as though you can ask anyone then email me – I always love to hear from my readers.

4)Be careful with your timing
It’s always best to apply for a job as soon as you see the vacancy advertised. In other words, don’t hold off for a few days. Instead, apply as soon as you can because early applications create a good impression, whereas applications on or even after the closing date won’t be as impressionable. Once your application is submitted, wait at least 10 days before you follow up (if you decide to) and it’s probably best to call up rather than to just email. Calls will be handled at that moment whereas emails are easier to just acknowledge rather than respond to.

For my readers that do keep getting rejections or not hearing back from companies at all – don’t give up. A rejection is the worst thing that can happen to an application. Learn from it, and as long as you now make positive steps towards changing it, then the only way is up!  

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