In recent recruiting drives for Bam Creative in the last six months, I have discovered some disturbing trends;

Spelling and grammar aren’t what they used to be

Given 95% of applicants for any job are university educated, I am shocked how many resumes or cover letters have basic spelling or grammatical errors. I’ve even had SMS speak – “c u tomorrow” appearing in correspondence with applicants.

We always state must have excellent written English skills, so how do these people get through university, let alone the first twelve years of education? They’re certainly not getting to the interview stage.

Data becoming redundant

A number of what us ‘old schoolers’ would consider mandatory details are now being left off resumes – date of birth, nationality, drivers license status, marital status and even interests are becoming redundant it seems. I don’t know about others, but I like to get an idea of who applicants are, as opposed to what they do.

Cover letters – what are they?

A high percentage of applicants seem to think it’s OK to email a resume with no cover letter or indeed any other information. Astounding.

Applicants with blogs

It’s interesting to note that as blogging becomes more prevalent, a percentage of applicants are using email addresses for personal domain names, which link through to blogs, and even web cams, which gives me a plethora of information to learn more about the applicant.

I’m even known to Google applicants names prior to an interview, so check to see what comes up under your name.

Research, research, research

What happened to the days where you tried to find out a little about the prospective employer before sending a resume and cover letter to them?

With the web, it makes it even easier to do a quick scan of their website, and add something to your cover letter (‘your work on projects such as XYZ and CompanyZ are right where I want to be’) which indicated you’ve taken the time to understand a little more about your potential employer.

Hopeless interview skills

I don’t know if we’re always getting applicants with no interview experience under their belts, but some people who look great on paper have failed miserably at interview stage. Turning up late, lack of eye contact, inappropriate attire, unable to hold a conversation, let alone answer my questions well, combined with a lack of displayed enthusiasm or confidence doesn’t fly well with me.

I’m concerned that educational institutions are pumping out these people into the workforce without seemingly any regard to their basic interview or job application skills.

I really believe that all students should be made to face a one day workshop covering the basics in what a prospective employer will expect – to educate someone for three or more years in their chosen vocation without these basic skills is just criminal – some of these people could be talented and go on to great careers, but if they can’t get past resume stage, they certainly are never going to find out for themselves.

Maybe some volunteers from our industry could “mock interview” some of these students towards the end of their degrees, and provide them with realistic (read: brutal) feedback about how they went?

In Summary

A big shout out to all of those applicants we’ve seen recently who have bucked the trend, and have been excellent – there really is some fantastic talent out there, and certainly an abundance of good people as of this writing. I wish you all the best of luck in your chosen fields, and look forward to seeing you blossom within the industry.

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