Common job application myths busted

Job hunting is an art form. For the very best outcome it requires attention to the finer detail. One of the key technical skills needed to succeed is an ability to cut through the myths.

If you can see the wood for the trees and bypass these myths you’ll boost your chances of clinching the right job.

  • Myth buster 1: you have to apply within 24 hours. A recruiter or employer may not even open your CV until the close-by date for the job. There is always a chance to get the job right up until the deadline. So give it a go.
  • Myth busted 2: recruiters are only filling their database. This is the biggest myth ever, says Simon Graham director of recruitment firm Graham Consulting. Processing applications costs too much time and money to do it without a purpose. Colin Mathieson managing director at Alpha Recruitment adds that it’s an oxymoron. If recruiters are accused, as they sometimes are, of not responding, why would they drum up more applicants than they needed?
  • Myth buster 3: a CV should give chapter and verse of your work and life history. The reality says Graham is that a CV is there to get you an interview. “The key thing is when you are applying for a role you have to get past whoever it is who is doing the first screening, which might be an administrator.” Qualifications, experience and relevant education must jump off the page. One-page CVs don’t do you justice, adds Mathieson. On the other hand, anything more than four pages is too long and probably buries the most important points. Use bullet points, he says, to get your message across quickly. Find out how to supercharge your CV.
  • Myth buster 4: fancy CVs stand out. In 90% of cases, elaborate CVs are not a good idea, says Graham. Simple is better. By being clever you detract from the message. Only in creative industries where you need to attach a portfolio could a fancy CV add value.
  • Myth buster 5: nobody reads cover letters. Not true, says Mathieson – although there will always be exceptions to the rule. If you and another candidate have much the same experience and qualifications, then it might be the cover letter that clinches the interview. Think of them as your 30 second elevator pitch. Don’t forget to address the key selection criteria.
  • Myth buster 6: the most qualified/experienced/educated candidates always get the job. This isn’t always the case – especially if you’re applying direct to the employer, who won’t screen you out sometimes just because you’re not an obvious fit. If you come across as personable and even better, if you can present yourself as the solution to your employer’s problem you might leapfrog better qualified candidates.
  • Myth buster 7: recruiters get in the way. Job seekers sometimes see recruiters as a roadblock, says Mathieson. Our recruiters will know more about the role than is listed in the advertisement, however. If you’re not having luck with getting an interview, ask questions such as: ‘what would have made me more suitable for the role’? 
By being clever you detract from the message. Only in creative industries where you need to attach a portfolio could a fancy CV add value.