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Job Board Do’s and don’ts

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Job Board Do’s and don’ts

The proliferation of online boards have made it much easier to look for (and apply to)  across the country, but ensuring that your application gets noticed is a fine art, says Angelique Robbertse, Product and marketing manager for Job Mail.


“Bear in mind that when you are posting your application online, you are actually speaking to two audiences,” says Robbertse. “One is the employer or agent that posted the ad, but the other is the search engine that ensures that you get found. You need to keep both in mind to make sure your CV doesn’t end up in the recycle bin.”


1. Don’t try to register as quickly as possible to get it over with.

“The Internet has made it much easier to apply for numerous positions, but you shouldn’t try to get in as many applications as possible, as quickly as possible, at the expense of getting noticed,” Robbertse advises. “I often here people complain that registration takes too long or that there are too many questions asked during the process, but job registration has to be detailed. The less information you supply, the less likely you are to be called for the interview. When your employer or recruitment agent starts wading through CVs, they don’t look at every application – they use keywords to find the candidates they believe will be the best possible match. Take an extra twenty minutes and complete those forms with as much detail as you can. It will be worth it when the right job finds you.”


2. Do use specific keywords

“Use as many keywords related to your job as possible – including the job that you are aspiring to have. The phrase “Senior PHP developer, 5 years’ experience, lives in Pretoria” is more likely to lead to an interview than “developer”.”


3. Don’t forget to use a cover letter if you can

“A covering letter is the one shot you have to demonstrate that you’ve researched the company and are passionate about what they do. It also provides a bit of insight into your personality,” says Robbertse. “It’s well worth writing a unique cover letter for every job application – read up about the company you are applying to, and tell them why you would like to work there. If the HR manager’s name is listed on the advert, address them by name rather than “To Whom It May Concern”. Remember that companies aren’t just interesting in your qualifications – they also want to assess whether or not you will fit into their company culture.”


4. Don’t use the blanket approach to job applications

Desperation often leads candidates to apply to numerous jobs, using CVs and covering letters that could be applicable to any position. “Companies aren’t necessarily looking for a Jack of all trades,” says Robbertse. “Tell them what you excel at. If you only have a matric qualification, tell them about your favourite subjects and hobbies. If you want to work as a receptionist, for example, explain why you are applying to a dentist office as opposed to a large corporate – even though the job title is the same, your skill will have to be different.”


5. Do back up what you are saying

“Vague, emotional descriptions (e.g. “I am trustworthy”, “I am very loyal”) can be seen as a matter of personal opinion,” says Robbertse. “Back up your claims with evidence. Rather than using the term “I am trustworthy”, use the phrase, “I am trustworthy, having been responsible for managing the petty cash and company credit card for 2 years”. Rather than claim that you are loyal, say “I have worked at my company for ten years, moving up the ranks”. Always elaborate.”


6. Do use all the tools at your disposal

“Video CVs are a great way of bringing a sense of personality to the table when job hunting,” says Robbertse. (You can learn how to create one ). “Don’t neglect your digital footprint either – create a professional LinkedIn profile, or even a website portfolio or free blog highlighting your skills. Most employers do a thorough Google search before hiring – so ensure that the things they find are positive.”


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