So it’s finally that time of year again, when we are in the middle of the recruitment process and my days are spent sifting through all the applications to find the very best. It can be quite a long process looking through the good, the bad and the confusing.
Every company has a different application process and ideas about types of candidate they’re looking for. What one recruiter sees as potential could be another person’s headache. But ultimately every company is looking for a dream team to ensure their guests return year after year.
Below are my tips to help you stand out amongst the crowd and get the attention of the recruiter. You’ll probably read some of the points and think: ‘Surely that’s obvious?’ But you’d be surprised at the amount of obvious mistakes and faux pas we see from applicants on a daily basis.
THE INITIAL CONTACT
- We know that when you first start applying for jobs you’re going to be applying to more than one company. When writing your email or cover letter, make sure you write the correct company name that you’re applying to. It just looks very lazy, and is an instant put off, when someone hasn’t taken the care to double check they’ve written the correct job title or company name.
- Until you have the job you should keep your emails as polite and professional as possible. Abbreviated words, casual replies and an overly friendly tone don’t look good – you’re not emailing a friend, you’re emailing a recruiter. I also like an emoji as much as the next person (the monkey covering its eyes is a personal favourite) but using emojis to sign off on an email is not appropriate when applying for a job.
- Don’t hassle the recruiter! Sending a follow up email after an interview or emailing to check your application has reached the company is more than ok. Some applicants, however, make the mistake of thinking that persistent emails are the way to get a recruiter’s attention, when in fact it can just be plain annoying. I appreciate everyone wants to know where they stand, but I make sure I get back to every applicant good or bad. Sending a hassling email isn’t going to get you the job.
THE APPLICATION FORM
- A cover letter can help you stand out – it’s surprising how few people do them. Keep it short, highlight your experience, and let the recruiter know why you would be good for the job. Try not to write the same as everyone else e.g. that you’re ‘bubbly, hardworking and love meeting new people.’ However don’t go using a thesaurus to use words you wouldn’t normally use. A recent cover letter from an applicant was so confusing I had to ask colleagues if they understood – no one did. You need to find the right balance.
- Spelling mistakes make it look like you’ve rushed your application. Spelling isn’t everyone’s strong point, so just ask someone to check it over for you.
- When applying for a childcare role it really is essential that at least one of your references can comment on how well you interact with children. Even if it’s just a family that you’ve been babysitting for, we want to know about your rapport with their children. Don’t put a family member (unless you work for/with them), like one applicant did – no, he definitely didn’t work for his mum! I think she would be a little biased in what she thought of him.
- If you send a hand written application form, ensure your writing is neat. Not everyone is naturally neat, but messy writing can be really off putting. If you make mistakes, don’t just cross it out, print the sheet again and start again. Tiny details like this really do count.
- Obviously just like your emails you should be polite – pleases and thank yous, or a lack of, are always noticed. If you can’t even summon one please or thank you we have to wonder what you’ll be like with our guests. Also don’t interrupt the recruiter – you’ll have plenty of time to get your point across.
- At the interview itself try and maintain eye-contact and not get distracted by your surroundings. Not only will it make you look like you’re not interested but you’ll probably end up missing out on a vital piece of information.
- I know what it’s like to be interviewed and feel nervous, so I try to make the interview as relaxed as possible. But don’t mistake this as a sign for you to relax too much and reveal more than you need to. I certainly didn’t need to know about one applicant’s issues with her boyfriend when I asked how she would cope with being away from home. Think before you speak!
AND THE FINAL TOP TIP TO NAB THAT JOB
- Ensure you research the company fully before you go to the interview. It’s always impressive when you’re talking about an aspect of the job and an applicant can comment on what they’ve seen on your website/social media.
Obviously the main thing we are looking for in applicants is a genuine love of working with children and relevant experience to back this up. But it’s the tiny attention to details which will make you stand out in the crowd and get that season job.
Think that you have what it takes to join our team, then I would love to hear from you.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org along with your CV.