Executive Recruitment & Professional Staffing

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Ten Common Job Seeker Mistakes


Are you applying for position after position and getting nowhere in your hunt for a new job? Perhaps your curriculum vitae (CV) could do with some fine tuning. In this blog Gavin Tonks shares his top ten tips to help you avoid the pitfalls during job searching and help you find the job you want.

1. Unprofessional Photos Online

Prospective employers are using social media to research candidates (LinkedIn, Facebook, & Twitter). Ensure that you have strong privacy settings on any accounts. Also, I often receive emails from candidates who are not aware they have a Gmail profile picture that shows up in correspondence. 

2. Unprofessional Email Address

Setting up an email takes less than 60 seconds. Set up a simple address (yourname@domain.ie). 10% of applicants still have comical email addresses such as dantheman@gmail.com or barbie@hotmail.com. Such addresses do not make a great first impression.

3. No Voicemail / Voicemail Full

Always make sure that you have room in your mailbox. You may miss an extremely important call from an employer. Also, funny voicemails are an absolute no-no. Make sure you sound clear and professional. This is often an employer’s first impression of you and you want to make the best impression possible.

4. Irrelevant Content on CVs

Your CV should have relevant content (2-3 pages). Be selective. I often see excessive company descriptions and full addresses of each employer. It’s just too much content. You want an employer to be drawn in by your relevant experience.

5. Fonts Size & Layouts

Chose a professional font like Calibri Light, only use a bold format for job titles. I often see too much text in bold or italics. Be consistent – use the same font throughout. If you are using bullet points ensure there is consistency.

6. Jumpy CV (Temporary Jobs on CV) 

If you have worked in a contract, make sure you specify this on your CV. Many job seekers won’t include this information leaving the employer to think they are moving from job to job. Be clever with your CV, if you worked in  four consecutive contract roles whilst travelling in Australia you could consolidate the experience into one segment rather that showing each role individually. 

7. References

Personally, I like a brief statement ‘Excellent references available on request’. I don’t feel there is a need to provide full contact details upon first application.

8. Hobbies

If you decide to include hobbies, keep them normal! It’s also a good area to highlight any extra curriculum achievements.

9. Multiple Applications

It doesn’t look good applying to ten different jobs with the same firm, every application should be tailored towards that specific vacancy. If you are sending a CV to an agency just give them an overview of what you are looking for, you do not need to apply to every vacancy they have.

10. Cover Letter

A cover letter in the modern day is usually one or two paragraphs written to accompany your CV in application to an online job posting. There is no need to attach separate cover notes, or include a full page cover note in your CV. If you decide to use a cover note, then ensure you tailor it with each application. Over 50% of cover notes used have been tailored for another job. The candidate started off with the best intentions but became lazy when applying for future jobs.

*This article was first published on hrheadquarter.ie

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Gavin Tonks is an Associate Director at Wallace Myers International. Gavin is one of Ireland’s most well connected recruitment professionals with deep roots in the financial markets. Formerly an Accountant, Gavin moved into financial recruitment in 2008 and quickly became a key figure in a global recruitment business. Gavin joined WMI as a start-up business in 2011 and has been a central figure in its year on year double digit growth, with Wallace Myers International now being a household name in the recruitment industry across multiple jurisdictions. gavin@wallacemyers.ie


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