Why a lot of job applicants are not getting employed

At Solutech Limited, we are currently looking for a software developer (full stack web developer to be specific), to join our young team.

On Monday, we sent out the word to our various social media accounts and personal networks.

Fast forward, 24 hours later, we had received 19 applications to be precise which translates to almost one application every hour, which consequentially forms the basis of this post. The rate of unemployment is really high based on how qualified some of the applicants are, not withstanding how colleges and universities are not pushing the right skills to students. This is an issue which I have lamented about in the past on why your degree doesn’t mean you’ve landed and Colleges & Universities won’t teach you everything. Am not surprised by the number of applications we had received by the writing of this post, what caught me aghast is how poor millennials and generation Z are writing their applications, which raises the question: Are job applicants really looking for employment? Because with some kind of applications that I have read through, you’re left wondering whether to hire the candidate to teach them how to write emails or whether to get writing code. It is a dilemma.

Job application is an art, you have to prove beyond any doubt that you should be shortlisted and make the human resource manager want to meet you in person. It is very clear that many unemployed people out there could be unemployed because probably they do not want to be employed. See, if you are truly and seriously looking for a job, you would take enough time to do thorough research about the company, the skills the hirer is looking at, tailor make your cv to fit the job and write a good application email. It beats logic to hire a candidate and the first task is to teach them how to write a mail to a client. If you are unable to craft a mail for a job application, addressing a client won’t be anyhow different.

It might sound funny but the below learnings have been drawn from the applications we have received in the last 24 hours.

Get an official email address

This has been preached a lot in a lot of online blog posts and human resource seminars. There is a good reason that, if your name is for example brian okello, we won’t give you an email like braxyokesh[at]solutech.co.ke. We will be thinking of usernames like brian.okello, brianokello, okellobrian, okello.brian, brian_okello, okello_brian etc. Hope you get the gist by now. Hence, it looks unprofessional when you apply for a job with an email address like braxyokesh, brian2040, okesh8945 etc. As fun as it was being the cool guy or the socialite girl at campus, it gets a time when you have to realise that you are no longer sending emails to your classmates but professional companies. Do you think any serious employer would give a lot of attention to an email that is delivered to their inbox from Brian Okello <okesh8945@gmail.com>? Most likely, such a mail will be marked as spam ending up in the spam folder to never be found or read by the person you sent it to in future.

My first email address

I was mostly not different from many current job applicants when I created my first email address. My first email address upon joining The University of Nairobi in 2009 was jmutie09[at]gmail.com. Cool, right? With my baptismal alphabet J, my official name mutie and the year of creation 09. That’s what I thought 8 years a go. This was nowhere professional until I changed it to mutiemule[at]gmail.com in my 4th year.

What’s formal?

An email address which is

  1. Short and easy to spell
  2. Easy to read and tell people on phone
  3. Has no numbers and special characters

How to create a formal email address

You can use either of the following suggestions to create a formal email address

firstnamesecondname, secondnamefirstname

firstname.secondname, secondname.firstname

firstname_secondname, secondname_firstname

In case you still can’t find an available username, try any concatenation of your first, second and last names. Also, you can shorten either of the names. e.g bokello or okellob, where b is the shortened alphabet from the name Brian. Try as much as possible to avoid numbers and special characters.


Crafting the application email

Am fascinated that in 2017, a lot of students or rather job applicants have limited knowledge of writing official emails.

Why would you send an email without a subject when you seriously want a job?

Why would you mix fonts (which illustrates copy and paste of online samples) when you really need your bank balance to go high at the end of the month?

Why woud you use different colours in your email body?

Why would you salute the hirer as hi or hey as if they are your buddies whom you hang out with every weekend?

Why would you send a plain body email? I understand you’re very busy with your life. Good for you.

Why would you forward your cv from another email conversation?

But why

But why?

Why would a job applicant do that?

Many job applicants fail to get to the second stage not because they are not qualified but because they don’t know how to write a professional job application email.

Perfect your communication skills, if your written skills are poor, your oral communication skills cannot be better.


CV Format

It is needless to include your gender and postal office address in your cv. Worse is the inclusion of marital status.
These three fields just add unneeded space in your cv.

Writing a professional resume would constitute a whole post on its own. It is important to learn how to write a professional curriculum vitae. Importantly, customise your cv for every job application. It takes time but it increases your chances of getting a call-up.


Naming Documents

In this digital job searcher’s day and age, one of the most important steps to take before attaching your cv, certificates and cover letter is to give them the proper names. I have gone through applications where the documents are named as cv.doc, resume.doc, coverletter.doc. Do you ask yourself, what if the hirer receives multiple files named as such and downloads them, how will they identify which belongs to you? Step your game a notch higher than the rest and personalise your files by adding your name and renaming them to “Brian Okello CV.pdf” and “Brian Okello Cover Letter.pdf.” If the hirer has not stated a specific file format to use, kindly save your documents in PDF. If saving in Ms Office, remember to use the least word format.i.e doc instead of docx.

Remember, the hirer receives many applications. If they’re saving the files to their computer, it becomes easier to match which documents belong to which applicant.

*Brian Okello is just a sample name used for this post.

Get shortlisted next time. All the best!


Leave a Reply

12 responses to “Why a lot of job applicants are not getting employed”

  1. Why would you send a plain body email? I understand you’re very busy with your life. Good for you.
    Hahhaha good one.
    This has really helped. Lemme send it to all my pals. Thanks

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: