Applying for a job has never been this easy. In the past one had to buy a newspaper, search for jobs, type a CV (resume), print it and photocopy it, buy envelopes and stamps, write a formal application letter (cover letter), usually manually then send your job application letters and copies of your CV via the postman.
Not only was it time-consuming, it was also costly and quite demanding. Now, with the coming of technology, Employment platforms such as https://www.workinzimbabwe.com – that help job seekers apply for jobs in Zimbabwe and employers get vacancy applications easily have turned out to be a gift to thousands of Zimbabwean job seekers and their prospective employers.
Having said that, of course, workinzimbabwe.com helps you apply for unlimited jobs daily, without even typing any application letter if you so decide, but there are some Dos and Don'ts that never change, whether you are applying for a job the traditional way or the new way – online. This article is going to talk about that and without wasting much time, let's delve straight into our today's main topic.
Things to do to increase your chances of getting shortlisted or even hired.
Align your CV and cover letter (application letter) to the job in question:
An accountant can become an auditor or a finance officer, etc. However, The accountant must have 3 specific CVs and Cover letters for the e jobs in question. He or she must have a CV and cover letter for accounting jobs, a CV and cover letter for Auditing jobs and a CV and cover letter for finance jobs. Each set of CV and Cover letter should primarily focus on the Accounting, Auditing or Finance skills and experience that this job seeker possesses. That way, the applicant will stand a better chance of getting shortlisted or even hired because he/she would have sent a tailored CV and cover letter to the hiring manager. The same goes for Sales/marketing/advertising jobs, and every other profession or industry.
Do some research and learn more about the company:
By mentioning in your application letter or Message to the Hiring manager section (workinzimbabwe.com always gives you this option whenever you apply for a job on its platform), some positive achievements or even challenges the company experienced, the hiring manager will notice how serious you are about working for them and that you took some time to learn more about them. However, always end that topic by explaining how your skills, qualifications and experience may also help solve the problem or avoid it totally.
Always follow the application instructions:
Make sure you follow the application instructions carefully. If they ask for a specific format or document, make sure you provide it. If they ask for a single PDF containing a copy of your ID, copies of qualifications and certificates, etc, please just do as the hiring manager says. By not following orders, you are very much likely to get disqualified. After all, remember, they usually get lots of applications for that vacancy you are looking for, so it's very much easy to disqualify those who disobey application rules.
First impression counts, make the best out of it:
Your CV and cover letter are your first impression, so make sure they are professional and error-free. Hiring managers are ever busy when selecting applicants to shortlist. They don't have time to go through long CVs. It's best to make your CV 1 to 2 pages long. If it gets longer than that, rest assured that most of what you wrote is irrelevant and hiring managers won't even go through it. For that reason, your CV should only include content you believe will sell your skills, qualifications and experience.
Use keywords for your industry or profession:
Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes. Make sure you use keywords relevant to the job to increase your chances of getting past this initial screening. A Computer Technician or IT Administrator should make sure that his /her CV should include words like Linux and windows servers, SQL and Access Databases, cisco, troubleshooting, Information Technology, etc. Again, An Account's CV should also contain keywords like include taxation compliance, valuation, portfolio, financial analysis, automatic data processing (ADP), Account reconciliations, GAAP, Financial Reporting, billing, return on assets (ROA), strategic planner(ing), strategic thinker(ing), capital budgets, etc. Just make sure you don't dump the keywords, strategically include them as part of your experience, what you learnt at college or as your major skills.
Never underestimate the power of networking:
Don't be afraid to network and reach out to people in the industry. Attend job fairs, and networking events, and connect with people of the same profession as yours on LinkedIn. You will learn so much about the tips and tricks that govern your profession by mixing and mingling with fellow industry mates. Also strongly consider being part of your industry's professional members. Accountants should consider becoming Chartered Accountants, Supply Chain Managers should also join CIPS, etc. Some employers will now only hire you if you are a member of a professional body.
When shortlisted, always prepare for interviews:
If you're invited to interview, make sure you prepare ahead of time. Research common interview questions, practice your responses, and dress professionally. For every career level or industry, there is a common set of questions that hiring managers often ask during an interview and these questions are asked to ascertain if you are the best candidate for the job. An example is a question (usually to managers) about their future plans. The hiring manager wants to ascertain if you are going to be with them for a long time or if you want to join them while working on getting a better job elsewhere. So, always research what questions employers often ask for the job you will be interviewed for.
After-Interview Follow up:
After you have attended an interview, follow up with a thank-you email. This shows your interest in the job and can help keep you top of mind with the hiring manager. However, never show your desperation, like clearly mentioning that you desperately need to get the job. Remain professional. In the follow-up email, which you should send 2 to 3 days after the interview, thank the hiring manager for giving you an opportunity to prove that you deserve the job, how you were impressed by the company's professionalism and how you look forward to working with them. Keep it short and professional.
Things to avoid if you really want to get a job
No too much personal Information:
This varies from region to region, though. In Western (European/American) counties, personal information such as your date of birth, marital status and religion is best excluded from the CV. However, in Africa, and Zimbabwe included, it's best to include your date of birth and marital status on your CV. I have seen some women getting hired simply because they are single or they are widowed. I may not know the reason why they were hired because of their marital status, but what I know for sure is that for those specific incidents that I'm talking about, one's marital status is what made the hiring manager decide who to recruit. As for age, it always influences hiring managers' decisions. Apply for a director's position when you are below the age of 40, chances are that you will not make it, even if you possess the required educational qualifications. Again, apply for a manager's position when you are below the age of 30, you will have a tough time getting the job. So, age always plays a big role, especially in Africa and mentioning your Date of Birth is a good idea. Having said that, other personal information, such as your religion, are not necessary and should be excluded from the CV if possible.
No unrelated hobbies on your CV:
While it's important to showcase your interests and hobbies, make sure they are relevant to the job you're applying for. Avoid including hobbies that are not related to the job or the industry. You love fishing and gardening, but that has nothing to do with your Computer Science profession. Why not write browsing the internet, creating and managing your personal blog, or answering IT questions on Quora as part of your hobbies if you are looking for an IT Job?
No irrelevant work experience on your CV:
Because you should keep your CV short and straight to the point, therefore only include work experience that is relevant to the job you're applying for. If you have worked in different industries or jobs that are not related to the position, you can still mention them briefly but don't go into too much detail. Spend more time talking about work experiences that convince the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for the job in question.
No negative information on your CV:
Remember, you are usually not offered an opportunity to explain certain information on your CV. The hiring manager will just make a decision based on what they are thinking or assuming and their decision is final. therefore, avoid including any negative information about yourself or previous employers, such as reasons for leaving a job or conflicts with workmates. Keep your CV positive and professional. Write the good stuff and achievements only and let negative stuff be a topic for another day.
No lies or misrepresentations on your CV:
I know of a candidate who is studying towards a Master's Degree and this candidate's CV already states that they hold a Master's Degree. This is very bad and dangerous. It's important to be truthful and honest on your CV. If you have almost completed a specific qualification, be truthful, mention exactly that. Also, avoid exaggerating your skills or experiences, and don't make up information that isn't true. All this can damage your credibility and hurt your chances of getting the job.
No fancy fonts or colours or tiny font size on your CV:
While you want your resume to stand out, avoid using fancy fonts or colours or too-small font size. Any or all of this can be distracting or difficult to read. Stick to a simple, clean, and professional format. Again, avoid making it too plain. At least make the hiring manager realise that you made some effort to craft a presentable and professional CV. Although it's what is written on the CV that counts, however, many people judge a book by its cover, so always make the book's cover presentable and professional.
Lastly, remember, your resume is a reflection of your professional qualifications and experiences. Keep it relevant, professional, and truthful. Now it's time to apply for your dream job. There are hundreds of Zimbabwean jobs on our website, and registration and application are totally free.