How to find a job in the current market

It used to be easier – jobs were advertised in the paper, you applied to one, then you either got a rejection letter or an invite to interview.

Thu, November 21st, 17:09


I recall in college we called those rejection letters, PFOs, I’ll leave it to you to work that one out. But, some of the rejections were so nicely put, it was practically rejection with a smile.

Now it has all changed. Many jobs are not advertised and most jobseekers do not get a response, so overall it is a much trickier proposition. So, what has changed? The main change came with the explosion of online. While the internet has made many things easier it also has its challenges. I recently heard of a candidate who applied to 643 jobs on one site in one day! If you think about that, it would not have been possible under the old method of paper and stamped addressed envelopes, so the ease of applying for a job means that many jobseekers can now apply to multiple jobs that they may not have the skills for.

The challenge therefore comes at the employers’ end when the amount of CVs coming in rises exponentially and it is just impossible to get back to every jobseeker. Secondly, it becomes much more time-consuming and harder to find candidates that are suitable for the job, so the overall experience for everyone is worse. So next time you apply and you do not get a response, don’t take it personally. But, here are a few things you can do:

Apply to a person not a job. Never start an email with “Dear Sir/Madam” as it will immediately be looked on as spam – it is very easy to get the name of a person in an organisation. Secondly, if you are sending a speculative application in, if you do not address it to a person you cannot follow up on the application.

Recruitment Agencies – apply to a job not the agency: Many jobseekers still just send in their CV and ask is there anything suitable. You are therefore expecting someone to work out from your CV what you are suitable for, which is very time-consuming in comparison to you letting them know this. So the best advice is to find jobs you feel you are appropriate for, find the name of the recruiter who is working those job vacancies, and apply to a specific job and then follow-up with that person – you are much more likely to get a receptive person on the other end of the line.

Use your network. Over 60% of jobs are not advertised – some due to the cost and some due to the fact that companies are trying to hire on referral as opposed to having to wade through multiple applications. So, it is important to talk to former colleagues, bosses, current friends and family just to ensure they know you are looking. Don’t ask them for a job as that may put them in a uncomfortable position but do ask for information on whether they are hiring.

Finally, you do need to be persistent but even more important you need to demonstrate why you want to work in that company doing that role. Most cover letters highlight everything about the person and their desire for a job, whereas you need to be highlighting why your skill sets match up well to that specific job and why specifically you would like to work for that company.

Good luck.

Peter Cosgrove

The Irish Times