After falling off my equilibrium a week or so ago I have been nerving myself to get back on the application horse.
I’ve been tempted back into the saddle by another job with a virtually identical person specification to the one I thought I was ideally suited to before. Again I think there’s a close match to my skills and experiences and those being demanded. And because of the job’s content it would be exciting, interesting and useful to do.
It may seem daft to say the least to apply for a job that’s a near cousin to the one I didn’t even get shortlisted for just a couple of weeks back. Maybe. But the feedback I had on that application identified I had failed to provide sufficient detail in the personal statement of my achievements. The things I had actually done.
I asked directly whether I was simply unqualified for this sort of role and was told that wasn’t the case. I was told I needed to tackled the application in a different way. (I took that to mean ‘Do it better.’)
What has also tempted me back out is the fact that the same consultancy is handling this appointment. So this is also a little bit of an experiment in testing out the consistency of recruiters. How ‘scientific’ is the process really? Before you ask I did check whether an application from me would be welcome or not.
I have also been ruminating on a comment posted on an earlier post by Jonathan Flowers (who knows a thing or too about recruiting). He said –
I’m a little concerned about the strength of the emphasis that you are putting on the CV in particular. I recruit at senior levels in the public sector, and find that although the CV is absolutely critical in the private sector it’s only a part of the picture – and arguably not the most important part – in the public sector.
Specifically, for roles that ask you to provide a supporting statement it is the quality of that supporting statement more than the CV which will get you through to the next stage. For reasons born out of equal opps the public sector is very keen on having an evidenced trail of achievement specifically aligned to the person specification, and the supporting statement is your opportunity to show that. It’s your opportunity to give very specific examples to show the extent to which you have the person spec characteristics, and if you can do this with specific evidence of outcomes that will go down very well. That plus the covering letter are probably the two most important contributions to getting an interview. The CV becomes more important thereafter.
I have taken Jonathan’s advice along with the feedback from last time and been much more specific than last time about what I did, what I recommended, how I tackled this or that thing, what happened next, what benefits were achieved and so on.
I also think my CV now does the job it is supposed to do for a recruitment process for a job like this one. It gives a sifter reasons to keep me in rather than put me in the ‘thanks but no thanks pile’. Specifically I have taken out the things that seemed to prey on the mind of the person giving me feedback as reasons why I wasn’t suitable for the role.
The other thing I am doing this time round is to be persistent in asking for feedback on my draft application. Last time this was promised but didn’t come. I also made the mistake of thinking the person I spoke to initially was the senior decision maker. So I have used LinkedIn this time around to contact the right person.
In all of this I am learning that good applications take time, care and planning. And that the labour market is a ‘buyers one’ just now. When so many excellent people are looking for work recruiters are spoilt for choice.
It must be the fact The Ashes are again being contested that I am reminded of the old story about filling Nottinghamshire CC’s first XI. When coal was king all a team manager had to do was to go to the nearest pit head and shout down for a ‘slow left-armer’ and one would be sent up.
I’ll wait for my call …