Just heard this from a colleague who know someone who manages a coffee shop for one of the major chains in the UK.
I don’t know if this is company policy, or just the way they do things, but if someone comes in looking for work and hands their CV in, it goes straight in the bin! If they go back a second time and ask if there are any jobs, and again hand their CV in, it goes in the bin again (of course, they don’t see this happening!). If they go in a third time to express an interest, check if there is anything going, at that point their CV is kept for vacancies when they come up.
The manager concerned claims that this ensures only reliable, committed potential employees who really want to work there are interviewed for jobs.
A good approach? Fair? Underhand? Whatever you think, if one shop is doing it, they won’t be alone.
So if you are looking for temporary, part - time work to help with your studies, or a full time job in retail or hospitality, it might be worth bearing this in mind…
I was asked this question on Quora, and thought I would post my answer here;
A good cover letter should show why a candidate is worth phoning about an opportunity. It should show some skills, achievements, and level of experience that make the recruiter want to pick up the phone. It should reference the vacancy applied for, ideally it should be addressed to the consultant by name and not as dear sir / madam.
It’s probably easier to look at this in reverse, in terms of where candidates go wrong. When applications come through via an online tracking system the first thing a recruiter will see is the covering letter - and if, as many are, it is full of typos, or references a completely different job to the one that has been posted (so is basically a cut and paste effort with no thought attached), or clearly indicates a lack of relevant experience for the position advertised, then I probably won’t read the attached CV.
Why should I if the candidate has by one of these actions shown they are unsuitable for the role? Yes in theory in some cases they might be suitable for something else - but if they’ve applied for a manager of a £100m turnover retail business and they are currently work in IT, what does that say about them?
Clearly if it’s marginal then I will call. Unfortunately many are not (and I appreciate that people have to apply for vacancies in order to get the dole, or whatever the government of the day want to call it), but I need to reduce the number of applications to a manageable number first.
The cover letter is therefore the first thing I look at from a deselection perspective - so a good cover letter needs to give enough information to show that you have the skills , experience, qualifications , at the very least genuine interest, in the role to make it worth my time to pick up the phone.
It also needs to show that you take the process seriously enough to put a bit of effort into it and be at least reasonably professional in your approach to finding a job, and in your dealings with my client who will ultimately judge me by the quality of the candidates I put their way!
For the past week, I’ve been posting examples of advice I’ve given candidates who I can’t actually help get work.
I thought I was going to post a new article each day - but I’m not sure I will - the simple reason is that the comments will often be pretty much the same. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll just post when something new comes up.
Today’s candidate was very similar to one I’d spoken to previously - one bit of advice did differ - it related to his personal statement. And this was that your personal statement needs to have relevant keywords in it that reflect what recruiters will be searching for - recruiters won’t search for 'a highlly effective worker happy at working in a team or on their own initiative', or other such bollocks.
Whilst you don’t want to fill the statement with gobbledegook, (as this will be picked up by search engines), think about what people are searching by - job titles, technology skills, specific qualifications, trade bodies (as an example I’m recruiting for an HR manager, so will search for ‘CIPD). and see what comes up, and specific achievements that relate to your industry sector, and to your role and experience.
Put yourself in the position of a recruiter who is going to trawl through hundreds, thousands of CVs - what do you think they are going to look for in order to narrow down the numbers to someting manageable - and then make sure your covering summary includes some of this stuff (assuming you aren’t making it up of course!)