Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Do you really want the job or are you just fooling around?

This blog is specifically an attempt to get the ‘Serendipitous’ Sri Lankans to think about what they do, so as to maximize the quality of life of both themselves and those around them. I use examples from my daily life to illustrate my point. I am quite perturbed at having to go through hundreds of emailed job applications to arrive at a shortlist for a panel to determine which ones should be selected for interview.

There are three vacancies for the senior level of management at an organization, with potential remuneration packages ranging from Rs100K to Rs400K. One would therefore expect the caliber of applicants to be high. Do not forget these positions are being offered in a period of uncertainty and recession, where many have lost their jobs, and so one would expect the desire to make oneself a good candidate more keen and competitive.

The first lot of applicants whose experience and qualifications do not remotely come near that advertised are just a waste of time and they just appear to apply for every job on offer hoping to hit pay dirt.

The second set, are those who are highly qualified with a string of research papers and book credits, but with practical experience only to achieve the qualifications they have. They should apply for lower level jobs and not feel they are up to senior management just yet. Its amazing how some feel qualifications mean they are able to walk in to any job.

The third have a varying job background, not confined to a single field and with a low level of qualifications, hoping this would be sufficient, as they have at some time in the past had some experience that would be relevant to this position.

The last group are those from whom we will make a selection, and they are those who have a fair balance of qualification and experience that is relevant to the job they are applying for. It is about this latter category that I am making the comments below but will equally apply to the others above.

If you are a serious candidate you must write a cover letter in the body of the email, clarifying why you should be considered for the job, highlighting the experience you have specifically relating to the job you are applying for, along with the relevant educational qualifications relating thereto.
I would ideally only want to read this and if found relevant go with interest to the attachment to read your resume. In Sri Lanka it is referred to as Curriculum Vitae or Bio Data, both of which are the wrong words to describe what you really want. Those are just the history of the person and not who he is!

Just remember when you email a Resume, you must realize that the reader has to go through hundreds of these. Your cover letter must be interesting enough to go further and read you detailed CV in the word attachment. What does the reader needs to know first is what is it you are currently doing or have just performed, and how this fits into your application. Why is it that you want this job in preference to what you are currently doing?

We are not interested in your address, your sex, your age, if or not you are married, what your religion, and race is and how many kids you have and your NI no. The name address, phone numbers and title of references are also a waste. I am shocked that almost a page at the front of the CV is devoted this list of useless information, which no one has bothered to think is only required as an afterthought if one is considered for interview and the references are only asked when one is about to be offered a job subject to satisfactory references specifically contacted by the hirer.

Additionally the next set of information is also not at all important for this type of level, namely the list of your O and A levels and what you did at school, except for the occasional national award. It is only the post high school qualifications that one should show, as all candidates are assumed to have got this minimum, ie you can read and write, and some with those cannot do that either!

The Resumes I have read go on for more than 5 typewritten pages, when typically it should not exceed two. The order of the Resume should be in reverse chronological. Just think, the most recent information is more critical to the reader than the oldest. It is pure common sense and why SL has not adopted this is beyond me, as even the placement agencies make the same.

How can we have faith in a candidate who does not have the common sense, and follows the standard norm for safety. We are looking for a self-starter, a dynamic, motivated person to run an export organization. The first impression you give is in a carefully written and researched Resume. CONCENTRATE ON THE OBJECTIVE AND USE COMMON SENSE

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