My best advice for job seekers

I do a lot of recruiting and recently posted a job for a part time administrative assistant. Many people may turn their noses up at a part time Admin position, but I always get a lot of applications for open administrative positions.

Why? Well, first off: they have a relatively low barrier of entry (typically not a lot of experience, education or special skill requirements) Secondly, administrative jobs are typically in nice, clean, air-conditioned offices. That is much preferable if you’re not a fan of manual labor or food services. Most of the time, my clients want a responsible person who can navigate Microsoft Office, answer a phone and file alphabetically. Other skills are important as well: dependability, positive attitude, attention to detail and willingness to learn. It’s not to say that these jobs are easy (almost never), but they are attainable to many.

Attention to detail is always important for a successful admin. At least, as a dedicated coach and recruiter, that’s what I believe and will filter out anyone who shows they lack this critical skill.

Today, I began filtering the applications. In our job posting, we asked for a resume, a cover letter and for applicants to include a job code in the subject line of their application email. In less than 7 minutes, I had discarded 28 applications that did not include either a cover letter or the job code. In one case, there was no code, no cover letter and no resume!  Seriously, if you can’t do these three things while applying, I doubt you will handle the 12-20 different details once you’re on the job.

But then, there was Amber. In contrast to her competition, she included a cover letter with the job code. She included a resume. I spent 7 minutes opening and trashing 28 emails, but I spent 5 minutes actually reading and reviewing Amber’s documents.

Job seekers, I know it’s frustrating to jump through all these hoops. I know you’re trying to cast as wide a net as possible and it takes a lot of effort. Job hunting sucks, I know. If your goal is to get a job, you first need to show that you’re qualified. If you can’t follow the initial directions, you won’t even get a shot at an interview, let alone the job.

Good luck and watch out for those details!