Why Can’t I Get a Job?

We interviewed an experienced compliance manager about what she looks for in a job applicant and here is what she had to say:

  1. Job hunting is a marketing and sales process. If you don’t know what that is, google it before you start applying for jobs.
  1. Point 1 means that if you have sent out 386 applications and not had an interview there is something wrong with either a) your application or b) your target market.
  1. Yes point 2 applies even if you are over 50 and you think the world hates you for being old. Or under 25 and the world hates you for being young.
  1. Anybody who puts phrases like `committed to customer service’, ‘good communicator’ and ‘meets deadlines’ in their application should tear it up and start again. Seriously – for every 100 applications, I get 99 that say that. And after all – nobody ever says they `are hopeless with customers’, `swear a lot and are rude’ and `are always late’ in their application? Who are you hoping to differentiate yourself from by saying you are a `good communicator’?
  1. Don’t send 100 applications with the same covering letter. Send 10 with a carefully crafted covering letter and research the company and the role. Yes it takes time, but so does sending out 386 unanswered letters.
  1. For point 5 above, don’t ‘research’ the company by calling them and saying `I want to know more about the role’. That’s just annoying and will put you to the bottom of the pile as nobody has time for that. They will tell you more about the role after they decide if they are interested in you, they don’t want to talk to 100 random people. Unless you are applying for a cold calling telemarketing role then go right ahead. They want you to be annoying. If the job ad isn’t well enough written for you to know if you might be interested, move along. You don’t want to work for them anyway.
  1. Write a good covering letter that shows your personality! (remember point 6 about not being annoying though). Don’t rewrite your cv into the cover letter, just draw out the key points and talk about how you can add value to the role. Think about `what’s in it for them?’ to hire you.
  1. The best way to do 7 and show how you can add value is facts and data. Not the `I’m so innovative and have initiative’ waffle. you need `I reviewed our system for x and reduced the turnaround time from 20 hours to 8 hours’ or `I improved our process fo
    r y and reduced customer complaints by x%’. If you don’t have those stats start collecting them! If you are seventeen and haven’t achieved anything, better get started if you want someone to hire you. Even the thirteen year old girl who comes and helps on the farm could either write ‘uses initiative’ or `identified that the process for feeding horses was inefficient and rearranged the feed shed and reduced the time taken to mix feeds from one hour to 40 minutes’. I know which one would catch my eye on an application. Even if the job wasn’t horse related do you think she would stand out from the other teenage applicants?
  1. If you are getting disheartened by the job hunting process that’s understandable. Everybody feels like that. So walk away from the computer, go get some fresh air, dance around the house like a maniac, and then come back. If you are cranky and dejected when you are applying it will come through in the tone of your letter in subtle ways that give the prospective employer an undefinable ‘nope’ feeling.


How do I get a job? 204827800 shutterstock man question marks 863x590 why can't i get a job?For information about programs which can help you get that job, see our courses page.




Published by: Melanie Macdonald