Getting the Job
Applying for the Job
When you’re looking for a job, you know the drill. You would be likely to search for vacancies by browsing newspapers, or by going online to job advertising sites like monster.com or indeed.com. When you find a job that seems appealing to you, you prepare a covering letter or e-mail, and send a reply, attaching a copy of your CV. And then you wait to hear back from them. And if you do hear back from them, you may be called for an interview.
But not all jobs vacancies are filled this way.
Only about 20% of the job opportunities that are out there are publicly advertised. The other 80% are filled through networking, through contacts who know of someone that is looking for a certain position to be filled but have not advertised it publicly. I have discussed the topic “networking” on a separate page.
One expression that springs to mind, is that “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”
Very often when an employer advertises a job vacancy, and there is a very large response, not all of these applicants get called for an interview.
Even if you are called up for an interview, this can pose a particularly insurmountable barrier to those with autism spectrum conditions. This is because those on the autism spectrum are usually not as good at oral communication when a “difficult” question is put to them. And then there is the whole area of eye contact, reading facial expressions, body language, ability to “read between the lines” etc., which would come naturally to those without ASDs.
Here is one good webpage that I have come across, in the area of interview techniques for Aspies. Rather than plagiarising what’s on that webpage, here is the link, which will open up in a new window or tab: Job Interview Skills for People with Asperger’s
More often than not, when employers advertise job positions, they will specify a requirement to have at least a number of years of experience. For many people looking for work, especially those having recently graduated from college, this can be a chicken-and-egg situation – employers don’t want to know you unless you have experience, and how do you get experience?
Many university courses incorporate work experience during the course. When I studied in college (1992-1996), I went through 5 months’ work experience at the end of third year. Some companies will recognise this pre-graduate experience, and others won’t.
A good CV
There are numerous templates of CV out there, and you will hardly ever get the same advice from any two recruitment agencies or job coaches.
That said, one piece of advice that is given most often is to avoid letting your CV run past two pages. And another piece of advice given is, with regard to employment history and to education, you always put your most recent employment or education first in the relevant section.
Another piece of advice I have come across applies to the heading on the CV. Many people are likely to start off with the words “CURRICULUM VITAE” in big lettering, and then on the next line “Name:” followed by their name, followed by the letters after the name. On the line after that, the word “Address:” followed by their address, then “Phone No.:” followed by their phone number(s), “Email:” followed by their e-mail address, and maybe “LinkedIn: followed by the link to their LinkedIn profile.
It is far better to omit the words “CURRICULUM VITAE”, “Name:”, “Address:” etc., because almost certainly people will identify a document as a CV, and identify each piece of information as a name, address, telephone number, email address etc.
More often than not, employers will receive up to several dozen CVs every day, and every little bit that makes for the content of the CV to be taken in more efficiently will help.
It pays to be truthful
In recent years I have heard many stories of CV fraud, where people applying for employment are not totally truthful about the information they put down on their CVs, to give them an edge over other ‘truthful’ applicants, for example:
- Claiming to have a First Class Honours degree, when in fact it is only Second Class Honours
- Exaggerating the length of experience with a previous employer, i.e. saying you have 5 years’ experience, when in fact you only have 4 years’ experience
- Keeping quiet about serious criminal convictions, especially when the employer asks prospective employees if they have criminal convictions
I have not heard of any stories of people “doctoring up” their CV in a way similar to that described in the previous paragraph and getting away with it, but I have heard a few stories where there were immediate consequences.
Employers will normally do a check on the information that a new employee has given about themselves on their CV, more often than not, after the employee has started work, and if the employer discovers that some information is not true, that employee will, at best get his P45.
Lying on your CV isn’t a criminal offence in itself, but if you do, and you get a well-paying job as a result, you could be deemed to be obtaining money under false pretences, because you lied on your CV, then that would constitute deception and fraud.
My view on lying on your CV is, in a nutshell, comparable to an athlete doping to give himself an edge over athletes that perform clean.
No company wants to employ a liar.