Any job role that you see online has specific requirements and some of them are non-negotiable. Prior to applying, take time to read those requirements through properly, as well as the overall job description. If the company publishes the vacancy itself (i.e. not through an agency), you can track this down and run a search about the company. This will help you to prepare for questions if you do happen to speak to a recruiter about it. It will also give you an understanding if this is the type of job that you’re truly looking for.
Before you apply:
Read the job description thoroughly. Some companies add a tricky line or question in the advertisement to see who reads it. For example, recently I saw a few jobs in LinkedIn which ended with the phrase: please apply by sending your CV to this email. Those who don’t read, only click ‘LinkedIn Apply’ and lose their chances to be considered.
Make sure your application meets the criteria. Let’s say it’s written that you have to have three years of experience in the field, but you have none – don’t waste your time. Or, if it says you must have a specific qualification, it might not work out for you if you don’t.
Prepare your CV and upload it in Word format. A lot of companies use ATS (Applicants Tracking System), a computer run search by keywords. Basically, the ATS won’t be able to read your PDF file accurately. Name your experience section ‘Work Experience’. And do not use your photograph, as chances are high your CV won’t be considered.
Send a follow-up email. If you apply through an agency, you may want to drop them an email. Make sure it’s a friendly one. Do this to check if your application has been received, or you may want to inquire about a phone/face-to-face registration.
For the employer, it’s important to see relevant experience and your understanding of what the job entails. Even though we all know that many skills nowadays are definitely transferable, it’s still more cost-effective for a company to hire someone with experience in the field. Companies write job specifications to make it clear who they are looking for. Due to high volumes of applications, it is sometimes impossible to respond to every single applicant. Irrelevant CVs simply won’t be considered.
In some cases, it is a good idea to get in touch with a hiring manager or a recruiter, but not to write about how great you are and what you have accomplished. Ask relevant questions. For example, if you have a different degree from what’s listed in the advert, ask them if this will affect your chances of going through to the first stage. Write a short list of your relevant experience and ask how it might fit with the role. Think about the value you can add to the business and ask if you can send your CV to them for their evaluation directly.
Making human contact with a recruiter, especially if you show understanding of a job role you enquire about, may help you with that role and help you in the future to be considered for similar positions.