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CHAPTER TWO
How to Search for Jobs

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“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” Wayne Gretzky.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent
will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with
talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan
“press on” has solved and will always solve the problems of the
human race,” Calvin Coolidge.

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Introduction

Over the last 10 years, I have led recruitment processes for various
staffing positions for a number of international non-profit organisations in Africa and Asia. I have reviewed job descriptions, screened applications, developed interview questions and led interview panels in identifying the most suitable candidate(s) for the work. On average, for every position advertised, we have always received more than 200 applications, except for top management level positions where some applicants keep off knowing that they stand no chance of making it through the process. From the applications received, only about 10-15 percent show some level of required quality and just a paltry less than five percent reach the level of interview. In some instances, employers are forced to readvertise
with a clear warning to those who applied earlier not to re-apply.

I recognise that searching for a job can be a slow, painful and lifesucking process. Many times, you will look for jobs and not even see an advert for a job that suits you. Many times, you will submit several applications and not even get an invite for an interview. Many times, you will be interviewed and not receive any feedback. Such is the pain that many job seekers go through. Will you give up because of the above challenges? The answer is NO, because if you do, no one will do the searching on your behalf. There are also some really lucky people out there who never go through the rigours I have described above. I have known a few people who upon submission of just one application, got the job and started working.

In this short chapter, I want to share with you a few tips on the reasons you never get shortlisted for job interviews, how you can search for jobs and prepare a quality CV and Cover Letter and any other application documents and processes that employers may ask for.

The Reasons You Never Get Shortlisted

When someone applies for a job, they are confident that they meet the
requirements of the position. At a bare minimum, the wish of every job applicant is that they get shortlisted and invited for job interviews so that they have the opportunity of proving their worth. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and it is understandably very painful. Owing to the so
many unsuccessful job applications, some people start to question their worth and often experience a dip in confidence levels. But remember, you are never defined by the number of failures you register along the journey of success. What defines you is the never give up spirit; that spirit that keeps assessing failure, picking valuable lessons and rising up again to pursue your goal. You must define your life with resilience — that ability to keep keeping on.

There are a number of reasons why potential employers never shortlist
you for interviews or even provide any feedback regarding the status
of your application. From my own experience, the following reasons
stand out: 

1. You did not adhere to the application guidelines and requirements.
Whenever you are preparing to apply for a job, please read through
the How to Apply section in the job advertisement and ensure that
you meet all the requirements indicated. Many advertisements will
require that you submit a Cover Letter, CV and list of at least three
references. Others will indicate that you attach copies of academic
credentials. If you do not submit an application in line with the
requirements of the advertisement, you will never be shortlisted;
unless you have very high level skills that the employer has spotted
and they are willing to give you a second chance. So, please ensure
that you understand and comply with the application criteria.

2. Poor quality and chronology of job application documents. The major
documents here include the Cover Letter (also called Motivation
Letter or Application Letter), CV and sometimes Writing Samples. I
always refer to these documents as your ambassador to any potential
employer. If the documents are incomplete and messy, you risk not
getting shortlisted. They ought to bring out your qualifications,
skills and experience and show that you are the right person for
the position advertised. Poor quality and incompleteness of these
documents casts you in bad light before potential employers. Mind
your language, grammar, font sizes and colours. Apply on time and
not after the deadline.

3. No apparent job fit. Many applications are also thrown out especially during the screening process because there is no evident fitness for purpose. The applicant either lacks the required skills and experience or does not have the right qualifications required to perform the job well. So before applying for any job, ensure that you can meet the minimum requirements. You may not have all the experience required, but at least you need to have an idea of what the job roles and responsibilities call for and be willing to learn the skills required if you are considered. Do not apply for a medical doctor’s call for applications if you are not one. You will be wasting your time.

4. Better qualified candidates. Sometimes, we miss out on being shortlisted because of very stiff competition from other candidates. There are times when people with high levels of experience and skills apply for the same jobs we have also expressed interest in and we end up being squeezed out. The war for talent is on and every employer
wants the very best at their work place. Keep developing yourself
so that you can become the best in your chosen occupation. PURCHASE

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