The People Manager

The Diary of an HR Manager – Part 3

There is no week that passes without me receiving a request from either a jobseeker, a young professional or a fresh graduate asking for assistance to secure a job. The story is usually the same, “I have been applying for jobs without luck. I really don’t know what I am doing wrong”, they would say. 

“Are you sure you are applying for jobs that you are qualified for?” I would ask. Certainly, they would respond. Did you follow strictly the guidelines for submission of these applications? Of course! Is usually the response.

After this initial exchange comes my standard response. Go to my blog and read this post titled “Why your applications are unsuccessful”, after which we can then discuss. 20% of the time I will get a response like, Wow, thank you very much; this is eye-opening. I will immediately apply the tips on there in my future search.

80% of the time, I will get a response similar to “I have learned about these sins that candidates commit when applying for a job a long time and I don’t do them. If you have been avoiding these, how come you are not being invited for interviews? I queried. Send me your CV and standard cover letter for review, and we closed the chat. 

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The first CV I received was from, let’s call her Candidate X. I noticed that since graduation she has not attended any training or developmental programme. Secondly, no sign of membership of any professional association in the field of study and finally the CV required some tweaking to make it presentable and attractive to recruiters. I asked, why are you not pursuing any professional training or qualifications to increase your opportunities? I was shocked to my marrow when I got this response: 

I dont think I would like to go for any professional course now. I don’t want to go through the stress of the professional body. In my perplexity, I asked Why? Guess what Candidate X answered, I don’t want to go through the stress. I am not also a fresh graduate. Not being a fresh graduate is the more reason to get additional training in order to be up-to-date.

Another candidate, let’s call him XY brought his CV for review. Everything was wrong with this CV. A 7-page CV filled with job descriptions and creative job titles that do not make any meaningful sense. I could not hold my indignation. I had to calmly tell him, that this CV is filled with irrelevancies in addition to unrealistic job titles. I can see why you are not getting interviews or when you do, you are not being successful. What/Who you claim to be is not what/who you really are, I told candidate XY. 

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He asked, but why? One, your CV is too long for one who is seeking an entry to the mid-level role, I told him. Secondly, I don’t believe these job titles are real; they seem made up, I restated to him. He tried to argue that he did all that job. When I asked, do you have letters of appointment with these job titles? Your guess is as good as mine, No, but that was the role I held at different times, was his response, and that If you write the company they will confirm these roles. I wrote and one of the companies responded that he joined and left as an entry-level customer service officer, not as any of those creative managerial or supervisory roles as stated on his CV.

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Sometimes, candidates use their hands to dampen their chances by being too lax, not ready to learn to improve and enhance their knowledge and skills. Do not expect to EARN when you fail to LEARN. After Learning, comes Earning. You can only give what you have, hence you need to acquire more than you require to enable you to give more than is required from you. When you give just like others, you become easily dispensable. However, if you give more, you set yourself apart and become more relevant.  Secondly, avoid creative job titles that are meant to just embellish your CV. Creative job titles and embellishment of CVs are nothing short of outright lies and dishonesty. This shows that your ethical quotient is at its lowest ebb. No organization would hire a candidate with ethical and honesty issues.

I would like to read about your experiences in helping young entry-level job seekers.

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