There are countless reasons qualified candidates miss out on excellent job opportunities. While employers may be willing to overlook minor stumbles, like a single typo in your cover letter, others – such as a criminal record – can be enough to rule you out entirely.
When you have certain black marks on your CV, even applying for professional roles can seem intimidating. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to overcome major hiring obstacles.
Overcoming three major candidate obstacles
At KLC Recruitment, we don't want anything to stand between our candidates and a job they'd excel at.
Sometimes, however, we do meet candidates who are already swimming upstream due to some major setback. Let's take a look at three and what you can do if any apply to you.
1. Employment gaps on your CV
To many hiring managers, long periods of unemployment can be a red flag – indicating that a candidate is unmotivated or that he or she was fired from a previous position.
As professional recruiters, we're more willing to take the time to understand why a candidate may not have worked for a span of time, particularly if he or she seems qualified in other areas. Employers, however, will likely discard your application entirely.
To avoid this, be sure to address any gaps on your resume directly in the document, your cover letter and your LinkedIn profile.
Employers want to clearly see:
- Why you left the previous position – If you were let go, be sure to explain why, particularly if the company was restructuring. Left voluntarily? Explain that too, but keep things positive.
- What you did during the unemployed period – Prospective employers will rarely look down on a candidate who took time to focus on their family and travel the world, so mention any activities you undertook.
- Any steps you took to further your career during the gap – Taking time off work doesn't necessarily mean neglecting your career. Mention any consulting, training or freelance work you took on during your unemployment.
2. A criminal record
In some cases, you're not required by law to tell a prospective employer about a criminal history. For example, this may be true if you absolved the offence by participating in a rehabilitation program or if you were convicted as a juvenile.
If you do have to disclose your criminal history, it's important to take the time to show how far you've come since the incident. In your CV and cover letter, emphasise your skills, training and expertise, as well as any volunteer work you've done.
Emphasise your skills, training and expertise, as well as any volunteer work you've done.
When you have a criminal record, you can't afford to let anything else tarnish your image in an employer's mind at any point in the hiring process. Therefore, make sure your CV is perfect, prepare for the interview extensively and provide plenty of solid personal and professional references.
In this regard, working with a professional recruitment company is hugely valuable. At KLC Recruitment, we want to see our candidates succeed, which is why we'd never let you send in a weak CV or go to an interview without adequate preparation. Prospective employers will ask about your record and our team can coach you to answer these tricky questions in a way that is honest, open and puts an employer's mind at rest.
3. Lack of (or no) industry experience
We always tell recent graduates not to get hung up on the 'minimum experience' required for a given role.
That's because in the modern Australian workforce, experience is no longer the be all and end all of whether or not a candidate is suitable for a role. Today, hiring managers are also looking for other skills and attributes.
So, how do you find out what these attributes are and prove you have them? The skills required will vary by industry so be sure to print out that job application and see exactly what an employer is looking for. Then, use this information to craft a CV and cover letter that ticks every box. Again, tailoring your resume with a professional recruiter is key.
Beyond technical skills, you'll also want to emphasise your soft skills as a recent graduate. When it comes to soft skills, however, we always advise candidates that it's not enough to say 'I'm a strong leader' – you need to show examples.
We also advise candidates to take the time to describe who they are as a person. What is your background? Why are you passionate about the field? An employer will be more willing to take a chance on a likeable candidate with no experience than one who he or she knows very little about.
While employment gaps, a criminal record or a lack of experience may set you back, they aren't the end of the world – especially if you work with a dedicated recruitment company. At KLC Recruitment, we make every effort to prepare our candidates and match them with the right role, which may not always be the one they've applied for!
To find out more about our range of services, reach out today.