With long term joblessness at an all time high, you might think that those out of work have enough time on their hands to take as long as they wish over applying for a new role.
We all know that we shouldn’t rush a job application, but how long should you spend on an one?
A showcase for talent
A new survey from recruitment specialists staffbay.com has shown that two-thirds of people applying for jobs take less than an hour to fill in the application forms.
The survey of over 1,000 jobseekers showed that the days of taking a whole day filling in forms and writing covering letters to try and impress prospective employers could be at an end. Less than 10 per cent of respondents to the survey said they spend a day on a job application, with a mere 5 per cent saying they take more than a day.
This might confuse those of you who are more au fait with pages and pages of forms to fill in when requesting an application form might baulk at these figures. However, it is my view that employers shouldn’t be alarmed at the figures, and should recognise that, these days, quality is better than quantity when it comes to job seekers showing off their talents.
Indeed, we’re not surprised by these results at all. These days, HR departments don’t have the time to plough their way through hundreds of pages of paper CVs. What they want is to be able to see if the person applying for the job is worth bringing in for an interview, and that’s why social media and video CVs have become so popular amongst job seekers.
Furthermore, in the days of self-publishing, Youtube and Skype, young people want something more instant when trying to showcase their talents. We recognised this when we set up staffbay.com. with this in mind, we made sure that it takes just ten minutes to build a profile on staffbay.com, and what we say to people looking to show off their abilities is: focus on what will truly set yourself apart from the competition, and don’t just concentrate on the quick and easy options or resort to box-ticking. Using the power of social media and video CVs, it should take less than an hour to make a prospective employer sit up and take notice, in which time you can leap to the front of the interview queue.
A lonely business
With the numbers of employees complaining of hundreds of people applying for even the most low-paid of jobs, it’s perhaps no surprise that job seekers don’t always receive acknowledgement of their application. Often, businesses just don’t have the time, it seems.
But whilst this might not seem so important to bigger companies, it can be terribly demotivating to job seekers. Often, our candidates tell us that they’re not so interested when they get notification of their application for a job, more that they just want some contact.
“Any response would be good. Often no response is worse as you hang on to hope,” one job seeker told us. Another said: “No-one ever answers you anymore. I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs and literally had only three replies in letter form and maybe a couple of calls.” A third commented: “I used to get letters that said “unsuccessful on this occasion” – but now I don’t hear anything.”
Applying for jobs can be a lonely business and some job seekers have warned that they feel that they’re falling into depression. Clearly, something needs to change.
So, how can job seekers make their voices heard – and how can they ensure that they’re not coming up against a brick wall time and time again?
Most people looking for a job these days look online – gone are the days of picking up the local paper. A recent report Experian Hitwise showed that the rise in online recruitment on social media networks has been seen to increase the rise in sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The report highlighted that social networking sites received around 2.4 billion hits from UK visitors in one month alone.
So, if employers are changing the way they’re advertising jobs, shouldn’t employees be changing the way they promote themselves to employers? Since launching staffbay.com two years ago, we’ve seen a wholesale change in the way the candidates on our portal promote themselves. The use of video has become more and more popular and many use it as a way of breaking down barriers between themselves and any prospective employer even before they’ve applied for a job.
Keep it simple
The simple things work best. The message we hear from employers is that staff don’t have to be qualified to the hilt, just that they’ll invest some time and effort in their new job. However, not everyone has a strategy in place to identify good talent. Small businesses in particular don’t want to wade through hundreds of applications.
And now is the time to act if you are looking for a new career. There are definitely green shoots of growth in the employment market. At staffbay.com we have the ability to see behind the scenes, and we’re aware that employers are being very proactive at interacting with candidates and building a network and a rapport for when the economy truly recovers. Furthermore, the number of job applications via our website has doubled over the last six months.
Promoting yourself needn’t be about who has the most letters after their name, or who can write the longest, most verbose job application. In a time when technological innovation is changing the way we live every aspect of our lives, jobseekers should harness it to promote themselves, stand out from the crowd, and land that dream job.
By Tony Wilmot, co-founder, staffbay.com