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Application Fail: Applying for a Job When You Don't Have the Skills

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by Lisa Johnson

over 2 years ago

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Last week, I had a comment on one of my blog posts that (to summarise) said that job applicants take far too much care preparing resumes, cover letters and research for interviews, etc. to waste their time applying for 'blind' advertisements. It made me wonder.  Wonder about how much care job applicants DO take when looking for a new job.  To be quite frank, if you are a recruitment consultant, it often seems that some people take no care at all.  There are days when it feels like you are wallowing in resumes from people who have absolutely no appropriate skills for the job for which they have applied.  

Just this morning, I saw an applicant resume for a business analyst role.  I saw the resume first and then looked at the job ad and was more than a little confused.  The ad was very specific regarding the requisite experience, including sales analysis and preparing management reports. 

The resume was from an applicant whose previous role was that of an accounts clerk, with no sales analysis or management reporting experience.  There was absolutely nothing in that resume that said that this person had the skills, knowledge and ability to do this job. How much care did that clerk take?  

Did they see that ad and think, 'I would like to do that,' and decide to apply?  Were they sitting on the train and, desperately miserable in their current role, they decided to apply for every single job on the internet?  Does their computer have some kind of weird virus that applies their resume to any job at all?  Is there a little voice inside their head that tells them that you will never know unless you apply?  Do they think it will endear them to the employer/recruiter?  

I am baffled. Let me be clear – applying for a job that explicitly contains required skills, qualifications or experience to do the job when you do not have any of these requirements is a huge waste of time.  You have wasted your time and my time.  I wish people DID take more care.  

That they bothered to read the job ad before applying.  That they were self aware enough to realise that there is little point in getting upset when they don't get the job when they don't meet the requirements. There are so many mistakes applicants make with their job application.  Applying for jobs with a resume that indicates no relevant experience or skills is the biggest one.  My advice is to take more care with your job applications, not less.

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