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Are You A Pick & Mix Job Seeker ?

Are You A Pick & Mix Job Seeker ?

Fortunately for my children, Pick & Mix is alive and kicking – in cinemas, shopping centre’s, holiday resorts and airports to name just a few places.  There is a new kid on the block too it seems – the Pick & Mix job seeker.

Like children in a sweet shop who take a sweet from every jar so they have one of everything, job hunters are increasingly using the pick & mix approach too.  I was discussing this last week with a candidate who sent me their generic CV to a number of positions.  Later on in the conversation, I found out they had applied to 32 jobs last week alone.  Quite some feat, and whilst it looked a smart thing initially, they have only received 6 responses so far.

When you go online and search through different job boards, there can be so many jobs that as you glance through them, you want to apply to as many as possible.  What do you do?  Well, if what other people tell me is true, you send out a generic CV to all of those jobs and see what happens.  As you click the send button without giving your ‘suitability’ a second thought, you anxiously wait for a response.

As a recruiter, on the receiving end of these emails, it is something I see on a regular basis, the same CV over and over again to very different roles.  Of course I know why people do it, as the more jobs you apply to, hopefully the greater success you will have.  Like most things though, quality is better than quantity, particularly as competition for roles is still so fierce.  The last time you sent off multiple applications in a week, how many did you get a positive response from, and how quickly?

The person I was talking to applied to three of my roles which were miles apart from each other in terms of the job skills required.  Having sent their generic CV to me three times, I had to ask the question why?

Having read their CV, I explained that they could not possibly be right for all the positions.  One was a Controls & Process orientated Financial Controller within an SME, one a Payroll Manager and the other an EMEA Credit Risk Manager for a global blue-chip company.  Whilst I agreed with them that they were all Finance jobs, the skills and experience required were poles apart.  They eventually came round to what I was saying – that in essence, they were sending out a very confusing message to the recruiter.  They had only just started their job search, and in the last two weeks had been online to apply for everything related to finance they thought they could do.  Note the key word in that sentence was ‘thought’.

My advice to the person last week and to anyone else job hunting currently, is to really think what you are sending, before pressing ‘send’ to every job going.  Answer the following questions:

  • Can I actually do the job, rather than think I can do it?
  • Do I actually want to do the job as it is described?
  • Am I happy to commute to that location on a daily basis?
  • Does my CV show in a clear and detailed manner that I am able to do the job?


If the answer to all of them is “yes” then great.  If you have any questions about the role and are unsure about something, then pick up the phone and speak to the recruiter directly rather than send a generic email and hope.  Sometimes the recruiter may have other positions they are short listing for, which they think you may be more suitable so it’s always worth a call.

As this person found out last week, sending the same CV to multiple jobs with the same recruiter can pose more questions than answers.  If you truly believe that you can do very different jobs advertised by the same recruiter or employer, then don’t send a generic CV to each one.  Study the job duties properly, think about the relevant skills you have and put them down onto your CV to demonstrate your experience.  Also be prepared to handle recruiter’s objections if they call you and question you about this.

A Pick & Mix approach as I call it doesn’t work for me – a job application needs to be targeted with a relevant rather than generic CV.  After all, if you were recruiting for a Financial Controller, would you want to see the CV of a Credit Risk Manager?

Best wishes

Leslie Fearn

Leslie has over 15 years Recruitment experience helping blue-chip corporates to SME businesses recruit for their Finance teams.  As one of the founding Directors of McGinnis Loy, a Specialist HR and Finance Recruiter across the Thames Valley and London, he is still actively recruiting in the marketplace today.  Follow his helpful tweets on Twitter: @Mcginnisloy

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