Human Resource talk by Miyanda Maimbo Kahari JOB APPLICATION LETTER by crawfordhanes


									Human Resource talk by Miyanda Maimbo-Kahari


The past week though short was an interesting one for me. My is extremely
exciting and I encourage anyone thinking of going into Human Resource
Management to do so with confidence as it is indeed a fulfilling field. I am
constantly asked when I write articles, where I get the time, where I get the
ideas from and why I never run out of topics to tackle. Many would agree with
me that when you enjoy and find satisfaction in doing something then you will
indeed find time to do it. I have always emphasized that my task in this column
and in my work as a human resource consultant is to use whatever means I can
to ensure that I share information with the nation and others outside Zambia
with the view of working towards ensuring that everyone is either employed or
an employee. I get my ideas from my day to day operations and I try as much as
I can to write about challenges people face and offer suggestions that could
change lives for the better. Because I use day to day experiences I never run
out of an idea which brings me to the topic I want to talk about this week.

I realize that I have written much about find jobs, the challenges, the
blunders, the CV, and interview, I know there is one area I have not covered
fully and it is that concerning the job application letter itself. Not many people
can afford to buy the newspaper, I would like to encourage those that manage
to please share this article to anyone you know who is sending out job
applications. Should you want a soft copy please send me an email and try to
forward it to as many people as you can so that people do not continue to
make the same mistakes on their application letter.

Let me start by providing you with a reality check, due to the numbers of
people studying and trying to improve themselves, the number of application
letters that can be received for just one position at times can be shocking. For
example if an advert is placed in the paper for an Accounts Assistant, rest
assured that we will receive not less than 400 application letters. The task
comes in the fact that one can not guess from the look of an envelope whether
the person who has applied is the right person or not, therefore as a recruiter
one must open every single application letter that is received. Note that in
many cases, companies will also include their email address so a recruiter
would have to open 400 application letters and several emails in order to find
the write candidate. Those that are involved in the recruitment process will
agree with me that no matter how clear your job advert is, even if you specify
in BOLD letters that you require someone with a degree, even those with a
certificate will apply. Even if you specify that you are looking for someone with
5 years experience, those who have never worked before will still apply. One
must therefore have serious patience and be able to go through every
application letter, however for someone of us that go through this process
everyday, at a glance and in a few seconds one can determine whether the
applicant is the right one or not.

One of the things that completely puts me off when I am going through
application letters is the obvious lack of seriousness that people place on such
an important document. Always remember that depending on the position that
every time you send in an application letter in response to an advert, you are
competing with over 100 other candidates just as qualified as or even more
qualified than you. In the past for example I have gone through over 300
application letters for one position and out of these three hundred at least 85%
of the letters were written on bond paper, the majority handwritten. Whilst I
accept that a few people do buy bond paper for their home use, my take on
this is two fold. First of all it tell me that the person who wrote the application
letter got up, went to the printer at the office and pulled out a couple of sheet
of bond paper. I say a couple because they put a provision in case they make
mistakes and that the application was probably written during working hours.
As a strict recruiter I begin to question your ethical behavior if you are
converting company resources into your own. A small ruled notepad will cost
you less than K5000 and will last you a long time. Imagine in a company with
over 1000 employees, at one time or the other taking bond paper for
application letters, how many rims are we consuming for personal use. I know
that very few people will use their own resources to go to an internet café and
have their CV printed there, so to save ones cost they use the company printer,
computer and print several CV’s for distributions. If at all you decide to use
bond paper on an application letter, use your resources, it must be neatly
typed and not hand written, how do you maintain a straight line or neatness on
bond if you are hand writing the application. Please note that at times there
are companies that will specify that they want a hand written application

Spelling mistakes are so common in application letters and even those that
have been typed applications and assumption being that one must spell check a
document before it goes out. If I am tasked to find an Executive Secretary for
one of my clients, I will check and double check at the presentation of the
letter, spellings paragraphs, spacing and everything that is expected. The
reason is that the same person will be tasked to prepare important documents,
if they can not prepare their own letters, what more that of a business. People
just do not take due care, I would advise that you sit with a dictionary, if you
are hand writing an application and ensure that your spellings are correct. Give
a second person to double check your application to ensure that you have used
the write tone, English and sentencing. Related to this is the use of very big
and complicated phrases or technical words. For example ‘I do hereby
promulgate that I am fully conversant with COBOL and am a qualified MSCE.’
Big words, complicated sentences and jargon do not impress a recruiter. Keep
it simple and short remember that you are also supposed to attach your CV that
will do the rest of the talking for you. When applying for a job via email, please
take note of the following important issues. DO NOT send an email and simply
state ‘please find attached my CV’. I do not waste time opening such emails as
it indicates an obvious lack of seriousness. You must write a full application
letter just as though you are posting it. Include your full details, what job are
you responding to; sell yourself so that you persuade the recruiter to open the
email. Another email I do not open is one which says ‘Find attached my CV for
any suitable job’. If you as the applicant do not know the type of position you
are looking for, then how does another person go through a mediocre 10 paged
CV just to help you decide what job you want. Always remember that of every
application you send out there are at least 200 other people that want the
same job, please let us take this process very serious otherwise we only have
ourselves to blame when we do not get called for interviews.

When sending an application via email unless otherwise stated in the job
advert, DO NO ATTACH CERTFICATES. These take very long to download and
can delay the whole process. If your certificates are required the advert will
state, if not then the employer will ask for them at a later stage. This is just a
tip of the iceberg; my emphasis is that we must take this process serious if we
want to find jobs. It may not seem important but we recruiters do read each
and every application scouting for the right candidate. Please note that we
have several exciting Vacancies on our files on all fields, find time to emails
your CV or visit our offices. Our Supervisory Management Skills workshop has
been moved to 24-26 July 2008; please contact us for further details. Due to
requests from many people we will be holding a one day seminar on 25 July
2008. This will cover, how to start a consultancy, how to get involved in
consultancy work, how to write proposals and market yourself as a consultant,
full details are available from our offices.

The Author is a consultant for Prosoft Human Resources Solutions. For any
suggestions and comments please email 0979472850 /
0966472850 / 0955408731 / 01 294423/24 or visit

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