Let’s be real. Applying for a job can be stressful, and feel like a full-time job in itself. To maximise your chances of success, some careful thought is required.

  • Are you using the right keywords in your search?
  • Are you setting your search using the right filters?
  • Are you tailoring your cover letter to suit the requirements of the role?
  • Are you qualified enough for the position?
  • Are you over-qualified for the position?
  • Should you be applying for a temporary position when what you are ideally seeking is something permanent that will provide greater job security?
  • Should you be applying for permanent positions when you know that you are going back to study full time at the end of the year, or there’s a chance that you may be relocating interstate next year for family reasons?

Because applying to jobs is already stressful enough, lets dispel some ambiguities and myths about the job application process…

#1-Recruiters don’t read cover letters

WRONG. Recruiters absolutely do read cover letters. We receive thousands of job applications per year, and we make stringent assessment of candidates as part of the selection process. A tailored and well – constructed cover letter will increase your chances of success. We take into consideration the relevance of the individual’s experience to the role that we are recruiting for, and the way in which the candidate explains this experience. Taking the time to draft a cover letter is time-consuming. If an individual‘s resume looks great but no cover letter is provided, the candidate could potentially be doing themselves a disservice. This is especially the case with permanent roles.

#2 Personal presentation is less important in the interview with the recruiter than with the employer

You are invited to an interview with a recruiter. Excellent start!

The morning of the interview, you decide to wear jeans and sneakers. Bad decision. It is essential that you dress corporately if that is what the confirmation of interview email states (and even if dress code isn’t mentioned in the email, it’s still better to overdress than underdress.) The recruiter decides who to shortlist for a vacancy. Together with appropriate and well-considered responses to interview questions, personal presentation is of paramount importance. Even if you do interview well, are well prepared and are deemed to fulfil all the requirements of the role, poor personal presentation can still let you down and cost you being shortlisted. This does not mean that you have to spend a lot of money on clothes. It means that you need to attend an interview looking neat, well-groomed and ready to start in a new role with the recruiter’s client.

#3 Your dream job is only a click away

Not all jobs are advertised and there are a range of reasons for why this may be the case. Many jobs are filled by referrals, where an internal employee identifies a contact who may be suitable for the role before the ad is even advertised. Your dream job won’t necessarily come to you. You may have to tap into your networks to ensure that YOU go to IT.

#4 If you don’t hear back from a recruiter once you have applied to a role they advertised, then you shouldn’t bother following them up because you’ll appear to be “pushy”.

It is quite acceptable to follow up with a phone call immediately after you have submitted a job application, to clarify that it was received. It is also fine to give the recruiter a call prior to submitting your job application as it is likely you will have questions regarding the role. Make sure that you have prepared those questions carefully. Making contact with a recruiter prior to or following submission of a job application can actually be advantageous as it demonstrates initiative and may differentiate you from the many other applicants.

#5 If a recruiter provides you with feedback that he/she is unable to shortlist you for a role, it is not worth keeping in touch with that person.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The recruiter would be doing you a disservice by arranging an interview for you with an employer when you don’t have the required skills and experience.  It will diminish your self-confidence and be a negative experience. I have placed many people in roles that were the second and third positions they applied for via myself. Honesty between a candidate and a recruiter produces the best results! A good recruiter will explain to you why you are not suitable for a role, and then genuinely keep you front of mind for other more suitable vacancies.

So with those myths debunked, I wish you all the very best in your job search!

About the Author

Genevieve Kyte

Genevieve is a consultant at Optimum Consulting focusing in Accounting and Administration. She just recently relocated from Melbourne and has worked in internal and external recruitment, as well as various Recruitment Process Outsourcers.