Job hunting can be a daunting task. This is especially true for developing countries where employment opportunities are far less than the number of people who are looking for jobs.
I remember very well when I would send over 50 applications a week and wonder why no one responded. I really wanted to hear back from someone even if it is to say that I was not successful in my application.
Many years later I got the privilege of sitting in interview panels and looking back, I now understand why no one would dignify my applications with a response.
And it has nothing to do with being ‘well connected’ or your looks or gender.
I will give you a list that can help in a in a short while, but before that…
Let’s have a look at the employment statistics
In Kenya, there are 7 million unemployed citizens. This is against a total of 25 million Kenyans who are in the working-age bracket of between 18-64 years old. Representing an unemployment rate of about 28%.
Majority of these unemployed citizens are desperately seeking placement. Whereas the remaining bit opt to go back to school to further their studies. All in the hope that they will have an added advantage when they finally go job hunting.
And by the look of things, this situation is not about to change. The tertiary education institutions are pumping more graduates every year into this shrinking job market.
Tertiary education output
According to our analysis – there are 20 public universities, 27 private universities and 266 colleges/ Technical & Vocational Education and Training Institutions.
These pump approximately 96,000 graduands every year into the job market led by public universities. For instance University of Nairobi has about 14,000 annually, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology has 11,000 and Kenyatta University and Moi, each with approximately 9,000.
The number of opportunities available each year is far below the number of people available to take on the jobs. This leads to an over supply of labour.
Let’s get into it
The situation I have just described paints a grim picture. It underlines the reason why your job applications need to be 100% perfect (Or at least close).
The good news is that everything in this list is in your control so in case you see yourself here, do not beat yourself up. It is all part of life’s learning curve.
10 Reasons why your CV gets no response
1. You apply for a job you are not qualified for:
So this ranks number one my list.
So you sent your application. And they are looking for a Commercial Pilot. With at least 10 years’ experience. You are a fresh graduate… with a Degree in Animal Husbandry…
If you do this, it communicates that you are desperate to want to work in a job your don’t have the skills for.
SOLUTION: Only send your CV if you meet at least 60% of the requirements
2. You have a crazy email address:
This makes you look like a joker. Some might think it is junk mail.
SOLUTION: Use a professional address derived from both your names e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. NEVER USE NICKNAMES OR THE ASPIRATIONAL NAME YOU HAVE ON FACEBOOK.
3. You sent an application to many companies at once:
“So Dear ALL. Attached is my application. Kindly have a discussion and agree who can give me a job in their company. Thanks.”
Some actually send a blank email to many companies.
This shows you are LAZY. It shows you like short cuts.
SOLUTION: Send all applications individually to each company customizing each message to that particular company. Yes it is tedious but you have to put in some work if your CV is to stand out. AND NO, BCC IS NOT ALLOWED.
4. You address the wrong company:
This is as a result of something a former boss of mine called ‘copyosis’. Where you copy and paste your application from XYZ and apply to Research 8020 Limited. And you forget to change the headline. And the headline reads a different company.
This shows you are not keen.
SOLUTION: Address each company individually, and include a cover letter that covers all the things specified in the job advertisement.
5. You have a cluttered CV
I once saw a CV that was 7 pages long with three columns including a couple quotes from movies and series.
You have to understand that HR teams most of the times have to dig through hundreds of applications. If your CV is not easy on the eye, it will be skipped.
SOLUTION: CV should be two pages.
6. You used the email address from where you currently work
This just is a question of ethics. If you can’t respect your current employer, then you won’t respect us. Sorry.
SOLUTION: Use your personal mail – Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc
7. You have an unprofessional photo
Once you put a photo, it becomes part of the evaluation. Don’t be surprised that you don’t get a call simply because someone did not like the picture and nothing to do with your qualifications.
SOLUTION: No photos, unless specified in the application. If specified, do a professional high quality photo – where you are formally dressed (As if you have the job already) and SMILING (this is important).
8. You have put unnecessary details
You need to pay attention to what the employer is looking for.
I once saw an application highlighting how the candidate made it to the secondary school drama festivals. Or another where the applicant was part of a Miraa task-force in Meru.
SOLUTION: Only include details that blend with the job application. For instance the drama festivals example above would be good if you were applying for a role in a movie or play.
9.You have bad email etiquette
Your CV has bad spelling. Bad grammar. No punctuation. Is in capital letters. Is blank. Has no heading.
Bad. Very bad.
SOLUTION: Pay attention to detail. Ask someone to proof read your CV before you start sharing it. Mistakes in the CV sends a message to the potential employer that you are sloppy.
10. You didn’t double check your application
Most times than not, there are excellent application where the attachment is missing. Or the email is not typed correctly. Sometimes crucial details are missing. Or worse you send corrupted files.
SOLUTION: Always double check your application. Check it against the application and the mandatory requirements. Remember to also check it again after you have sent it. And again in a few minutes after sending – it may have bounced.
I hope this helps you in your quest for a new job. Wish you the best of luck.