By Christine Hayhurst, Chartered Management Institute
Q: "With the advent of Internet recruitment, it has become almost impossible for me to effectively apply for jobs. I have sent out my CV hundreds of times in pursuit of employment and receive in return only an automatically generated response. I have been to seminars, networking sessions and conferences but all roads seem to lead back to online recruitment. What can I do to secure employment?"
-- Patti, London
A: Over the past four years online recruitment has certainly caught the imagination of job seekers.
However, it is important to realize that the Internet is merely another medium for recruitment, rather than a replacement for tried and tested methods.
It may be true to say that there are numerous dot com brands that employers turn to nowadays, but the traditional high street brands are still important. And after all, most of these high street brands continue to advertise in industry specific journals or headhunt top sector specialists. So if you have been focusing all your efforts online, consider expanding your search to the jobs that are advertised elsewhere.
You also identify a key problem with online recruitment -- the automated response. If you use a real -- as opposed to "virtual" recruitment consultant, you are far more likely to get feedback if your CV application is unsuccessful. And indeed, prior to sending it to prospective employers many recruitment consultants will conduct an interview with you to help draw out the most relevant aspects of your experience. That way they are able to match you more accurately to the jobs they are recruiting for, and in so doing, increase your opportunities for success.
But if you are focused on online recruitment, you may need to explore the way you are writing your CV. It's important to create one that has impact, but is factual and brief at the same time. So have headlines for each section for clarity and do more than list responsibilities. You need to sell yourself to a prospective employer and the best way to do that is through positive language -- identify your achievements, your highlights and your passions.
It's also important to show the currency of your skills. Listing formal education such as your degree is important, but what have you done since then that makes you stand out from the crowd? For example, you may be undertaking, or have completed, a professional qualification or you may be engaged in continuing professional development courses. If you are, the simple rule is "tell them."
A CV isn't the only answer -- you may find that rejections are coming your way because of the way you "deliver" it. In other words, the covering letter or email is important. Use it to tailor your experience to the opportunity or organization and to summarize key elements of your CV. And don't assume that an email is more informal than a letter -- spelling, style, language and grammar always need attention.
Finally, demonstrate interest -- if you do just get an automated response, respond to that with a request for feedback. Employers prefer engagement to silence and even if they decide not to take your application further, you can always use what you learn from one experience to benefit you in another.
-- The Chartered Management Institute shapes and supports the managers of tomorrow, helping them deliver results in a dynamic world. With 74,000 individual members and 500 corporate members, the Institute helps set and raise standards in management, encouraging development to improve performance.