Jobs at Todd Foundation
Update January 2013:
Applications for our office manager role have now closed. Thank you to everyone who applied
Update October 2010:
Below is an open letter to jobseekers from Executive Director Kate Frykberg. This letter was provided to the 107 unsuccessful applicants for the role of Youth Development Advisor which we advertised in August 2010, and, because people told us the feedback was useful, we have made it available here.
Dear job applicants for the Youth Development Advisor role at Todd Foundation
Thank you applying to us; I was overwhelmed to receive 108 applications for this role and humbled by the calibre of applicants. I am also acutely aware that there will be 107 disappointed people who will not get the job, and the only thing I could think of to offer is some generalised feedback on the applications, after personally reading all 108 of them. Please note that these are just my opinions; I’m not a professional recruiter or HR manager, so please take this with a grain of salt.
1. Remember your audience: With this many applications it is not possible to spend more than 3 or 4 minutes per CV on the first reading. This means that it is really important to keep your cover letter and your CV succinct and well structured – personally I prefer no more than a page and a half for the letter and no more than 4 pages for the CV.
2. The Cover Letter matters! Our first impression of you is the cover letter, so make that first impression count. Also, in our case we are looking for someone with “excellent written communication” – your cover letter helps us assess this. Here are some suggestions:
- Tailor your letter for the job. This is time consuming if you are applying for lots of jobs, but worth it for the ones you really want. We asked for answers to two questions – why you are interested in the role and why you think you would be good at it. Over a third of people didn’t answer the first question at all, and only a small number of people structured their letter around these two questions. A few keen people structured their answer to the second question around the skill requirements in the ad or JD – this was a useful approach.
- Keep the language clear and simple.
- Proof-read! Here’s some of the things I saw in letters: misspelled words, bad grammar, my name spelled wrong (understandable but not the best first impression), the job title wrong and even the phrase: [insert organisation name]
3. CVs were generally excellent. Just a couple of thoughts:
- Remember to list your most recent job first. A small number of people listed their earliest job and worked forward; generally this doesn’t do you justice.
- Consider keeping the list of key skills very short. Lots of CVs had two or three pages of key skills, with each explained in detail, so I imagine this must be considered good practice, but it doesn’t work well for me. Why? Because anyone can say they have, say, “excellent relationship management skills” – but how do I know that yours are special? I prefer to look for evidence, eg through your work history or volunteer work – although this is a hit and miss process. An alternative way of showing key skills that works better for me is to provide a single concrete example of each skill only, so that your CV is not too long but you provide evidence of your skills.
- Include volunteer work and Interests at the end of your CV. Volunteer work shows you care about your community in your unpaid time, and interests help show that you are an interesting, well-rounded person.
I hope this is some help and I’m sorry that I will not be able to provide personal feedback to applicants, but there are just too many! Thanks again for applying to us;