By Dorcas Karuana,
Ever wondered why for some people it takes 4-8 weeks to find a job and for others with same qualifications it takes up to 36 weeks to find a job? Many of us apply for jobs that you are clearly qualified for but never get to interviews. Why?

I recently received a phone call from a job seeker who sought assistance in his job search as he had never gotten to interviews. John, an accounting/ Audit professional happens to work in one of the Government Parastatal now in management capacity for the last 10 years. However, he wished to change jobs and join either an audit firms or International NGO’s. However, even with his numerous work experience his job search has been unsuccessful. He applies for jobs on the papers and online sites yet has never heard from the employers. During our conversation, I noted that John had such a good CV and notable achievements which left me wondering just what mistakes could he be making.

Some of the common reasons for not getting job interviews include:

1.Spending most of the time sending CVs on job adverts on the paper and online job sites. Truth is that with online jobs, in most cases, the adverts are placed when the internal staff have been asked to recommend someone. Therefore if you know someone within, who can endorse you the better. Stop relying on advertised jobs and start networking for 10-20 hours or more each week. The bottom line is unless you’re in the Top 15% of available talent in your field, or supply and demand in your line of work lies in your favor, your CV is likely to go unseen; especially it shows you to be much less talented than you actually are are.

2. Supplement emails and texts with e-networking. To truly communicate with people and showcase your skills and your passion, using verbal dialogue especially in online channels. Yes e-networking contributes to 90% of successful job placement. Look to contact and develop a personal relationship with people who work in your target organizations. Nothing can replace a 1-on-1 conversion for making a lasting impact and getting others to advocate on your behalf.

3. Reinventing your personal brand- When you are changing careers or leaving a long-time employer, you will want your brand to reflect where you want to go. For example for John, the CV and cover letter should showcase unique qualities or strengths that he has to offer to the potential employers. You can also think back about the types of problems that people tend to bring you because they’ve figured out that you’re the best person to solve them.

4. Building your brand- Yes, a personal brand takes work to be effective. But, when you’re job searching, that groundwork will actually save you time. Look objectively at your current CV to see if it is the best possible representation of your value or if it is merely the best CV you could write. If you find it lacking contact a professional CV writer for a free critique.

5. Tailor your CV and Cover letter to fit the job advertised. Employers want a copy paste candidate from the job description. If they need certain skills, knowledge or number of years of work experience then they mean just that. Therefore, analyze job descriptions of jobs you are interested in before you submit a CV to see how well you fit the ideal job profile. This will help you customize your CV for each job and double your chances of being called for an interview.

Whatever you do in your job search, give it your all. Don’t depend on others to do the hard work for you. Do not wait for your siblings or friends to apply a job for you. Also do not listen to what others say about you or your current company. Be positive and expect the best. Remember that, “If you want something done how you want it and when you want it – Do-It-Yourself.” Also, throughout a job search you must honestly assess your motives, goals and efforts and results to determine whether you need some outside help or if can go it alone.

Dorcas is the Head of Recruitment at Corporate Manpower East Africa. E: W:

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