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Applying for a job? How to ensure you are short-listed

By Christabel Munene | September 8th 2021
By Christabel Munene | September 8th 2021

If the job listing says the employer is looking for an experienced professional who is ‘fluent in data analytics’, use the same phrase on your CV.

It is not a surprise that an employer may not respond to your application for employment. Most employers indicate on the advertisement that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

So you may assume that you have not been shortlisted if you do not receive any feedback to enable you to ensure your next application meets the requirement.

However, it is good to know the reasons why you were not shortlisted. 

Below are possible reasons why you were not shortlisted.

Meeting the minimum Requirements

A recruiter’s first responsibility on receipt of applications is to draw a checklist of the minimum requirements for the job. If you do not meet one or more of the mandatory requirements, then you may not be shortlisted. 

To this end, it is important to study an advertisement and pick out the mandatory requirements. Ensure you first meet them. This forms the basis of shortlisting.

This process is often conducted by junior officers in an HR function system whose responsibility is to confirm the applicant’s documentation. They do not have any leeway but to just follow the instructions as stated in the advertisement.

Your CV did not respond clearly to the advertisement requirements

Once the mandatory requirements are met the next stage is to peruse through all the applicants who met the mandatory requirements and indicate all those who meet the requirement of added advantage.

 For example, an advertisement may require a diploma as mandatory but those with degrees will have an added advantage. It is therefore important that your CV clearly states the added advantage that has been mentioned in the advertisement. 

In addition, some organisations use an Application Tracking Systems (ATS) which can screen your CV by searching for specific keywords which clearly appear in the job advertisement.

 Use the job advert as your guide. If the job listing says the employer is looking for an experienced professional who is ‘fluent in data analytics’ use the same phrase on your CV. 

The ATS program will pick on that phrase and identify a match that will move your application to the next level.

Salary Range

The salary attached to a job is determined by the worth of the job. A job’s worth is often arrived at from a job evaluation which assesses the technical know-how, management responsibility and human skills required to perform the job. 

These skills are attained either from educational studies or experience in a particular area. A salary is therefore attached through a salary survey or benchmarking in a particular industry and also determined by affordability by the company. 

An applicant who earns far less or far above the stated salary range may not be the right fit for the position. 

For example, a student who has just finalised a CPA (K) qualification earning Sh40,000 may not qualify for an accountant’s position paying Sh150,000.

 Similarly, an accountant already earning Sh150,000 applying for a Sh40,000-job may not be shortlisted. These are discrepancies that can easily leave an applicant out of a shortlist.

It is therefore recommended that an applicant fully understands an advertisement before applying and ensure that the application meets the requirements without any omissions. 

This will ensure that you will receive a response for shortlisting.

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