The fall of the Taliban and arrival of international community in Afghanistan, brought great employment opportunities for Afghans, in 2001. Most of the Afghan job-seekers enjoyed high rate of employment with attractive remuneration packages, even those who didn’t have very impressive credentials.
But time didn’t remain the same and Afghan job market started to see a gradual fall. Since 2014 when foreign aid to Afghanistan decreased and most of the foreign organizations who provided great employment opportunities to Afghans were bound to leave the country, it has become very tough for Afghan job-seekers to compete with thousands of individuals with less opportunities to get employed.
Most of the jobseekers put it so that even though they possess great skills, proven experience and educational qualification and apply to different vacant positions on daily basis but they never hear from the organizations and are not called in for interview. Such individuals believe that the reasons they do not get shortlisted for interviews, are nepotism and administrative corruption.
While we do not reject the presence of nepotism and administrative corruption in different Afghan institutions but we can’t say that the aforementioned issues are the only reasons to the problem. While the issue of nepotism and corruption seems true to much extent, we can’t ignore the fact that there are many organizations in Afghanistan who have modern recruitment systems and professional staff. For instance, we have several UN organizations, NGOs, Banks, Telecommunications and Air industry, and many private businesses who would not let nepotism and corruption hinder their operations and business processes by recruiting non-eligible individuals just on the basis of nepotism and/or the use of bribes. We can’t say this, too, that these organizations do not have the aforementioned issues at all. There may also exist such issue but in general, considering both Government and other national and international organizations, the following questions need to be addressed seriously;
1- Is it only nepotism and corruption that renders Afghan job-seekers unwelcome and they do not get the chance to be called in for interview? Is it only the above mentioned issues or there are some other reasons too?
2- What percentage of cases of unemployment of the talented masses is due to corruption and nepotism? 50? 60? 0r 70?
If we dig deep into the reasons involved therein, we’ll find that while corruption and nepotism play its role in this regard, but they are not the whole story. There are other important reasons too which we’ve tried to address in this article.
Most of the job-seekers think that getting informed about the job advertisement, being an eligible candidate for a certain position, and applying for the vacant positions will get them shortlisted. While the afore-mentioned points are important to get shortlisted but that is not the complete process. It has been observed, in Afghanistan, job-seekers do not care what their CVs or Cover Letters are up to. Most of them have download a format from the internet and made some minor changes in it, or have edited a CV or a Cover Letter of their friends for themselves and keep sending it to recruiters expecting they will shortlist them.
Due to a large number of CVs the recruitment Manager can’t devote too much time for viewing thousands of CVs. Usually they give 10-20 seconds to a job-seeker’s CV. The following questions are to be considered in this regard.
A: Can your CV and Cover Letter impress the recruitment manager and have a positive impact on them in 10-20 seconds?
B: Are your CV and Cover Letters written professionally?
C: Are your CV and Cover Letters free of grammatical and spelling mistakes?
D: Are your CV and Cover Letters updated and edited in the light of requirements of a certain position that you are applying to?
The answers to the above questions impact greatly the chances of a jobseeker to be invited for the interview. Only the format is not important, the content of the CV, the use of trending keywords, the related skills, the style of writing and the way one portrays their credentials are also of utmost importance.
CV is a marketing and advertisement document and representative of the job-seekers which they send to an organization before they visit it.
Now if that representative does not have the capability of impressing the recruiter and portraying effectively the credentials of the jobseekers, and leave a bad impression with spellings and grammatical mistakes, will the jobseeker land the job?
They say marketing is not an expense but investment. Now the question is, how much time and money have you invested in your CV and Cover Letter? In other countries of the world jobseekers spend 150-300 USD to avail CV and Cover Letter writing services. In order to compete thousands of jobseekers, a jobseeker has to work on their CV and Cover Letter to get shortlisted. For instance, an IT professional or an Engineer may be experts in their fields, with extensive experience and great skills but they may not have the skills to present their credentials effectively in writing through their CVs. That’s why jobseekers need to avail the services of professional CV and Cover Letter writers.
In case of Cover Letter it should not be generic but should be prepared specifically for the position you are applying to. It must portray your achievements, qualifications, and skills related to the position you are applying to, in a precise manner. Most of the job seekers who do not get shortlisted, usually send the same cover letter to all the positions.
Therefore, in the light of above points, lack of professional CV and Cover Letter is one of the biggest reasons which leaves many jobseekers rejected.
Instead of working on their CVs and Cover Letter, many of the job seekers in Afghanistan, waste their time by applying to vacancies to unrelated jobs they are not qualified for. They just see the position and without reading each and every instruction and condition, they apply to it. In most cases either their education background or their experiences do not meet the requirement of the position at all. In that case it is evident that they will be rejected because they do not fulfill the requirement for the position. Job seekers have to pay more attention while applying to an advertised position. Applying for more jobs without considering the requirements will not result in shortlisting.
Every job advertisement has guidelines on how to apply for a certain position, detailing the procedure to send the CV. Many of the companies ask the candidate to mention the reference number of the vacant position in Subject of the email, while sending their CVs to them. As the recruitment manager receives so many emails they differentiate the emails of various vacant positions through the reference number. In case there is no reference number mentioned in the subject of the email, they will ignore the email and thus the CV of the jobseekers will go unnoticed.
Some jobseekers only apply when the last date of application arrives. There are chances that they will not be called in for the interview as the position may have been filled earlier. The reason is that due to urgent need of staff some of the companies shortlist the candidates on a rolling basis and call them for the interview before the deadline of applying for the vacancy. In that case if the jobseeker waits for the deadline to send their CV to the recruiter, they may be left out of the process and hence will not have the chance to be shortlisted.
While it is good to engage on social networking sites, in some cases it may render a jobseeker rejected for an interview or even for selection. Some international organizations, and domestic as well, are very keen to check your Facebook or twitter profile before they make a decision about you. Mostly they want to see those profiles to check you for religious, ethnic, gender and linguistic prejudices and your political affiliations.
As at the social networking sites, people do not care a lot about what they are sharing, liking or commenting on. Social profiles are portraying a totally different personality than what their CV or interview is portraying, that is why an employer is very interested to know other part of the candidate’s personality in case they want to make a decision about them.
Unfortunately, in Afghanistan the aforementioned prejudices have become interesting topics for Afghans and most of them involve in such post or even share them on their profiles. It is very easy to find a certain jobseeker on the social networking site, as they have shared their email addresses and phone numbers with the recruiters, in the their CVs. It just takes a while for a recruiter to find a candidate on the mentioned sites with the help of their email address and phone numbers and make an opinion about them. Therefore, if your Facebook or Twitter profile contains any such thing which goes against the principles of the recruiters, your chance to land a job decreases.
It is a pity that prejudice has become a trending issue on social media. While we accept that prejudice is a natural feeling like all other negative feelings such as hate, anger, sin, and keeping grudges, but it must be controlled by individuals exactly as anger, envy, hatred and all other negative habits are to be controlled. If it is not controlled, in the long run it will harm the individual more than it harms others. In case you’re so much into prejudice and can’t control it easily, at least do not share it on your profile to spoil your image. Try to ignore such posts and do not comment on it, share or like it. If you can, report it to the Facebook team.
Having a strong professional network of acquaintances plays a good role to grab the chance for the interview. In Afghanistan, everyone has a Facebook id and spends a lot to time on commenting, liking and sharing posts and pictures on it, but unfortunately only a few jobseekers have LinkedIn profile. Those who do not have it, it decreases their chances to connect with the higher authorities or the recruitment managers of different organizations. And those who have it, they have not worked on their profile to make it so impressive to get them contacted for a position.
Many of the companies now a day hire through LinkedIn and an impressive and professionally written profile plays a good role in this regard. Apart from the LinkedIn jobseekers should try to expand their social networking and have acquaintances in different organizations who would recommend them when required.
In the light of aforementioned reasons it is expected of the jobseekers to work the main issues in this regard. We suggest if you think your CV and Cover Letter need improvement, you may want to avail our CV reviewing, editing and rewriting services. Our team has reviewed, edited and rewritten hundreds of CVs, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles and has helped job seekers land their dream jobs. By availing our services, you give yourself the confidence to tell your story in a powerful and effective manner and most importantly, compete with hundreds of candidates to win the chance to be called in for the interviews.
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