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Applying through a job board

It used to be the case that when you applied for a job, you looked in the newspapers, local and national, and then the trade press.

You found someone with a computer or typewriter, to type your CV and then you wrote letters by hand. You then walked to the red pillar box nearest you and posted your letter and CV. If you were lucky, you got a response in about two weeks. This was labour intensive and, as a consequence, you would probably only send out two or three applications at a time.

Now of course, with job boards it is possible to send out dozens of applications at the click of a mouse. Which means that recruiting firms and consultants get inundated with responses. Initially, recruiters thought the internet had solved all their problems. Only to realise that everyone else was getting all of these applications, too. The same problem persisted. There are not enough good people to go around.
When you apply through a job board you should have this in mind. Your application will be sitting in someone’s inbox with dozens, if not hundreds, of others. It may get missed. Worse still, you may forget who you have sent it to. Yes, you can look it up — but do you?

One of the problems with job boards is that they encourage job seekers to be lazy. You send the same CV to dozens of companies and hope for the best.

This is not the best way to get your next job. If you take your career seriously, you should put more effort into this process. Firstly, you should write down each job to which you have applied. Keep a list of all the jobs and with the dates of the applications. You will normally get an auto response and then, if they’re not interested, you won’t hear again. Consider calling the employer or agency if you haven’t heard back withina couple of days. Yes, if they not interested it may be mildly irritating. But then, you haven’t lost anything. Remember that it is entirely possible that your CV is sitting in a lazy admin bod’s inbox and has not even been seen by the decision taker. By calling you bring it immediately to the attention of the person who counts. If the employer is looking for a specific skill, say knowledge of spreadsheets, make sure that is prominent on your CV.

Most importantly, think about your accompanying email. Don’t write ‘War and Peace’. A short, succinct email that demonstrates that you have read the advert properly and that you are specifically applying to that advert and not taking a scatter gun approach by applying to every employer on the job board.

Try something simple, like:

Hi [Recruiter],

I am particularly interested in working for Tesco as I really admire its recent success. The store in Purley is my local store and I know that the standards there are second to none. I do hope you will be interested in my application.


Hi [Recruiter],

My family come from the fashion industry and I know that to work for Arcadia in merchandising is the fastest possible route to success. I am really interested in the MAA roles that you have advertised and, although my background is not obvious for a fashion retailer, I have a strong grasp of numbers and love working with spreadsheets.

Try to avoid:

Re: Vacancy

I am interested in your positions advertised on retailchoice.com

This implies that you have sent your CV to all the jobs on retailchoice.com

Job boards are still the most effective way of finding a job. All job seekers should make them a critical part of their career change strategy.