Tom Cheesewright of AND Partners left the following comment after I posted a piece about an enterprising graduate:
“When it comes to graduates looking for a job, any effort is welcome.
I get shed loads of letters and emails from grads that start ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.
How difficult is it to look up my name?
From there on in it is clear that the applicant has no clue about my business and has sent the same letter to a thousand other people. If I do bother reading on, I generally (more than 80% of the time) find the letters to be riddled with typos, spelling errors and general nonsense.
Worst of all though, on a few occasions I have taken the time to respond – politely – and point out what they are doing wrong and how to improve their chances. Out of three times I have done this, how many times do you think they have responded? None. Which just proves to me that they were never going to be worth employing. Rant over.”
Now two things before I get started: there will be a terrible typo here that undermines my authority for writing this entry and secondly I have had similar experiences although surprisingly I am not the number one destination of graduate career aspirations.
So here are a few simple tips, which somehow are not followed as often as they should, that is they should be all the time:
Do some research – I have a blog and a Twitter account and lots of references about Artisan on the major search engines. It is not hard to find out some interesting things about the company you want to work for. Use that research to show you are keen and have some resourcefulness.
Find out the name of the member of staff you are applying to – personalise your application. A quick call will give you the name you want if it is not online or not clear who the best contact is.
No spelling errors – I reckon a CV takes at least four hours to write and much longer to proof, edit and amend. Make sure there are no mistakes. The latest application had this mistake “Daily mail” on the CV. We all do it but that’s no excuse – get someone to proof it.
Social media – Use Twitter. Read blogs. Make some contacts on LinkedIN.
Follow up – Even if it is a “no,” it might be a “yes” next time. Initiate contact, generate a rapport if possible, ask advice. You never know what might happen, maybe a nod towards someone that can help.
Be prepared to accept that job searching can be a thankless task that takes time unless you are lucky or stupendously good – Rushing off / spamming every agency you can find with cut and paste covering letters is easy to see through and generally does not work.
Some people will be rude. They are probably not working for if it is indicative of their general attitude. But many employers will not. They might have been in the same situation. But if you want them to help at least show you are displaying the respect you want them to show you.