Posts Tagged ‘job application’

Picture this: you’re out of work and you get up and go to your computer. You look on the job boards and you find a job that is absolutely made for you. You get an email saying that you’ve got an interview for a job you applied for last week. How do you feel? Elated? Optimistic? Full of the joys of spring?

Replay, a couple of weeks later. There’s nothing on the job boards that is even worth applying for. You’ve just had a ‘thanks but no thanks email’ from that interview. You haven’t got any other interviews lined up.  How do you feel? Deflated? Hopeless? Down in the dumps?

This boom and bust cycle is a common experience for full-time job hunters, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s the secret – it all depends on how you measure success.

Most people in this situation measure success by results – did I find some good leads,  get an interview, second interview, job?  The problem with these is that you don’t really have control over them, and they may be in short supply.

The alternative?  Measure success based on what you do have control over. Set yourself ‘input targets’.  For instance, this week I will:

  • contact three old colleagues
  • search  job sites for two hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • send off at least one application on Monday, Wednesday and Friday – the best of the bunch if nothing is perfect
  • attend one networking event
  • identify five companies in my field/area who I could approach directly
  • Find one new agency and set up a meeting/call with them
  • Approach five companies directly
  • go for a run three times a week
  • meet a contact or old colleague for lunch

These are just examples – you can come up with your own list. Check that it is doable – no point in setting yourself unachievable targets. Make sure that they are all things that you have control over.

Having set yourself some achievable targets, measure success by whether you do them. Keep a log. Tick them off. Give yourself gold stars.

At the end of the day, you can feel good because you have done everything you set out to do.

You are also making consistent progress towards getting a job. You put in the work regardless of the number of interviews you have lined up or rejection emails you have received. You will get there!

PS If you like this approach, you might like C J Hayden’s book ‘Get Hired Now


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Should you put references on a CV? Or leisure activities or ‘clean driving license’ or age or marital status or what school you went to or … well, whatever you can think of.

My answer is always simple. The purpose of most CVs is to get you an interview. So here’s the question: if you include references/leisure activities/driving license etc, will it help you to get an interview?

If the answer is ‘no’, then leave it out. If you leave it in, it distracts from the stuff that will help you get an interview.

References I have never come across a situation where references will help you to get an interview (if you have, comment below, I would love to know about it).

Leisure and social interests can be helpful, but only if they are the right ones.  Think about the key messages you are trying to get across in your CV. Do your social activities add to them?  If one of your key messages is your public speaking and presentation skills and you are president of your local Toastmasters or Rotary club, that adds evidence to support your message so may be worth including.

If you do include leisure interests, they should differentiate you. Avoid general or common interests – like going to the pub, chess, running, golf. Instead, phrase them as achievements and quantify them. Maybe your pub had a charity fundraising event that you were involved in – list how much money you raised. If you are on the golf club management committee, list your achievments. What kind of chess champion are you? How many marathons or half marathons have you run?

Driving license – is it essential for the job? Will it help you get an interview? If not, leave it out.

Age/marital status etc – my view is not to include things that give the CV reader an excuse to sift you out. Let them ask you that in the interview.

What do you think? What else would you include or leave out?

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