What Happens To My CV After I Send It? – Kenyan Career Advice
Once you submit your CV and cover letter to an employer, it can feel as if your precious career documents have been sucked into a vortex, never to be seen or heard from again.
At best, you might get an auto-reply email that acknowledges your application (but promises nothing). Wouldn’t it be nice to know what’s happening to your CV after you send it?
Pouring is the operative word. Janerose is a HR manager for a medium-sized firm in Industrial Area, where they rarely get fewer than 200 Cv’s for any job posting; 200 to 400 is the norm. (Four hundred!) And these numbers are not unusual. No one can review that many Cvs, so the vast majority of them will have to be eliminated.
Depending on the organization, the initial decision maker might be the manager for the open position, a HR person, or a senior staff. Many people use hard-copy printouts of the CV’s and cover letters; but larger companies are probably still keeping it electronic at this stage.
TIP: Make your CV attractive and organized, with plenty of white space so it’s easy to read on screen or on paper.
We talk a lot about the 10-second rule (you have only 10 seconds to pique the reader’s interest). The first visual scan of the cover letter and CV lasts at least 45 seconds. At other companies, it might be a computer doing the scan, searching for certain keywords.
TIP: Don’t apply promiscuously; if you’re not qualified (or at least almost qualified), you’re wasting your time.
At this point, if you’re still in the running, someone will take the time to fully read your cover letter and CV. (Yay!) But in the end, more applicants will be eliminated. (Aww.) The final candidate pool might be as few as 3 or 4 people, or as many as 10 or 15.
TIP: Previous steps were all about first impressions; this step looks for substance to support those impressions. Without it, you’re gone.
This is where things start to vary from employer to employer. Some employers will conduct a phone interview, other request for a demonstration and some will go the aptitude test route.
TIP: If you’re asked to do some homework, do it, and follow the instructions to the letter. If you balk, you walk.
At this point, the process becomes familiar, because you (the job seeker) are back in the picture. It’s the usual sequence of in-person interviews (possibly 2 or 3), reference checks, and eventually – when you and an employer find the right fit – a job offer, negotiations, a handshake, and a starting date.
Now that you’ve got some insight into what happens on the dark side (wink, wink), I hope it’s clear how incredibly important it is to make your CV and cover letter shine with a summary of your specific, relevant qualifications targeted to that employer.
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