Help Yourself Get a Job Faster | Tips From a Recruiter


I work in the recruitment industry and see my fair share of candidates who have been in the job hunting game for a little too long; struggling to get their foot in the door despite relevant experience leaving them frustrated and deflated. After relocating to Liverpool, it took myself a good while to get bag myself another job and being on the other side of the recruitment game, it was because I wasn't necessarily helping myself. I thought I'd share a few tips and how to avoid being stuck in a vortex of disappointment.

CV Formatting
Always have a CV ready, even if it's for Industrial / Trade work, a lot of clients want a CV submission. It's a faff, but a necessity. The greatest problem I face whilst culling CVs is the formatting. If you're applying on Indeed, they completely eradicate the original format (unless you attach your CV externally) and only go on what you've inputted, therefore sometimes I get through minimal information with just dates, employer and job title. In the competitive industry of job searching, this just really isn't good enough.  Don't be lazy when it comes inputting information - don't try and make shortcuts. I'd always recommend adding your original word/PDF formatted CV as an attachment to prevent this problem from happening.

In general CV creating, make it look professional as possible and easy to read. 2-3 pages maximum. We don't need to know your date of birth or exact address (prevents discrimination in general) or every GCSE you achieved unless required for the job. In fact, many put their qualifications ahead of experience and if you're applying for a graduate scheme or a qualification heavy position, that's fine, but in most cases the experience is the thing that's going to sell you.

And proof read!
Is everything in date order (most recent to oldest always) / gaps in employment explained?
The quality of spelling and grammar mistakes I see for jobs where 'Excellent spelling and grammar required' is pretty inexcusable and dampen's a recruiter's lust nails on a chalk board. Don't be that person. Give it to someone else to read if you can to iron out any extra mistakes.

Read the advert
Once your CV is tickety-boo and ready to send over, please please please make sure you read the advert. It's easy after a few hours of submissions for the words to blur together and think you might have the gist, but you might have missed some vital information i.e. location - can you get there for the start time? Is it feasible for you to work in a long-term position for that rate of pay? Basic things that a lot of people miss.

Have you answered all of the questions?
A recruiter doesn't have time to pick up the phone to every submission, so don't expect that if you haven't made the time to tailor your CV to the job in question that we have the time to then ask you about it. You might just have moved to the area (speaking from experience) but if you haven't explained that and your last jobs are from elsewhere, you might just be another 'oops' application. Have you put your location? Have you explained that large gap in employment? Have you explained/at least outlined the duties in your previous job roles?  Which leads me to my next point...

Is your experience relevant?
The amount of applications I see as a lot of people are told to just 'apply for jobs' grinds my gears. It wastes everyone's time. If you've been working in hospitality, please don't go applying for an Electrical Engineering job, it's just silly and we can see on future applications your previous application history. Not cool.

In terms of genuine searching, we've all been there where we're trying to get into a new industry but our experience doesn't necessarily grant us that. But you can use that opportunity to write a decent cover letter / tailor that CV to explain how your skills are transferrable and don't just be generic. Make the effort to reiterate the words/jargon used in the advert so us recruiters can see how you could may well just fit for that job as some clients can be more lenient in that respect.


Be active
Sieving through CVs is a time consuming game. For jobs like 'Receptionist' or 'Administrator', they have huge response rates: recruitment's a busy industry where one person is going to be going working on more than one position as well as having to fit in sales calls, marketing meetings and dealing with the admin side of things. We don't always have the time to read everyone's hobbies on their CVs so my advice is once you've sent over your application, let the company know you have. This is where I failed when looking for work.

If you feel you're better in person than on paper, let them know that and give them a call. The person might not be available to speak to, but you've given your name and interest. It makes the difference, particularly when on our adverts we state 'Please call the office to discuss' - that's not there for the sake of it. We like when the phones are busy and candidates are active. There's been a real slump in active candidates as of late - don't rest on your laurels because it really slows the process down for both parties. Beat someone to the punch and sell yourself into that position. You might be in work, but if you can drop them an email stating your interest as well, that's a bonus. It gets your name recognised by that agency so even if they don't feel you might be suitable for one job, you'll be in their mind should another position come along. I see this happen all the time.

Oh, but when you do call, make sure you know what job you're calling up for. 'Some admin job' doesn't quite cut it when I'm currently working on four. It's a bit lazy, really.

And also, put on your phone voice. It happens at least a few times a day where someone's asking for work but then give me one word answers to my questions. SELL YOURSELF. Put your best foot forward at all times - we're the ones in between you and the client, you need to impress us first.

Patience also required
Recruitment is a time and costly process so lot of companies big and small use recruitment agencies nowadays to do the hard work for them and it might seem a massive pain the arse to have to come in and 'register' filling out forms for an initial interview process, but that's what we get paid to do - vet the candidates initially, weeding out the most suitable to put forward to the clients. Definitely don't moan about the process when in the office as that gets our back up more than anything - it shows off a poor quality trait. It's just simply the name of the game nowadays.

Following the initial bit, when submitting suitable candidates over to the client, we don't necessarily hear back straight away. When we're working on permanent vacancies for some of the larger companies, they can be sticklers for perfection and can take a while to get a response despite a push from our side. Just understand that some patience might be needed, but linking back to my previous point; give us a follow up call to see how it's getting on - it shows that you're assertive and care. It's competitive out there so make yourself stand out.

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I hope these help a little bit. It's good to know what happens on the other side of the recruitment wall so you can understand what the hold up might be and why we do what we do. Obviously any questions, I'm happy to try and answer them. These tips aren't going to guarantee you a job you've applied for, but it might speed the process along.  

K.