The Dos and Don’ts of job applications

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Job-seekers based in the Middle East are committing simple errors when applying for positions, hampering their chances of landing a dream job, according to the recruitment company REED Global.

With job application activity increasing significantly since the New Year, REED’s Dubai-based team compiled UAE-specific research from 2012 analysing common factors that led to job applications being rejected.

Examples included applicants distributing multiple versions of their CV containing significant content differences, having errors in the subject line of their email, and making blanket applications for a company’s available positions.

Other mistakes included applying for jobs using informal email addresses, failing to update contact details and replying “yes” to every question on a screening questionnaire.

Addressing job-hunters who use informal email addresses when submitting CVs or applications, Ash Athawale, recruitment manager at REED, said: “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. These first impressions are absolutely vital and using an unprofessional email address that starts with something like ‘partygirl’ or ‘gamerboy24x7’ won’t impress a recruiter.”

Recruiters are also wary of candidates who send out multiples versions of their CV, sometimes including significant differences in content.

“Both internal and external recruiters will have a copy of your resume already on file and if the ‘latest’ version you send varies significantly from what they have already, you’re setting off red flags, said Mr Athawale.

He advises job-seekers to adapt their cover letter or summary according to the position they’re applying for, but to leave job titles, dates of employment and scope of work done unchanged.

Another common mistake is making blanket applications for a host of jobs, rather than choosing positions that match specific skills. Recruiters receive applications in one central email box and will delete applicants who respond to multiple jobs that a company posts, REED stressed.

REED also warned people against answering positively to all screening questions on job boards.

“Not all answers to job application have an expected answer of “Yes”, said Mr Athawale.

“I have periodically posed questions where the answer should be ‘No’. For example ‘Do you have a work ethic that is questioned by your superiors?’ or ‘Are you applying for this job without reading the description?’”

Job-seekers should also check the contact details they provided in past applications, with some listing a work phone number or email address that became out of date after changing employers.  Companies also have the right to scan employees’ work email meaning there should be no expectation of privacy if you are found looking for a job on company time.

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