Help – I can’t get an interview

Dear Aunty,

I have been looking for work since finishing university almost 5 months ago, applying for at least one job each week. I studied in the UK for 3 years and gained a bachelor’s degree in International Finance. I want to use this qualification to find a job in the banking sector in Zambia.

Every time I see a job advert I submit a carefully tailored CV and cover letter or application form. I always make sure that I examine the job description and clearly demonstrate my abilities and experience for the role.

I have no banking experience (I worked part-time in retail in the UK) and wonder if my lack of experience could be preventing me from getting an interview? What should I be doing to get invited to interview?

Aunty says,

Your frustration and disappointment are understandable. Having worked hard to gain your bachelor’s degree it must be terribly frustrating not to be able to make use of this qualification and the skills you developed.

Firstly, you’ve been applying for at least 1 job a week for about 5 months, that makes about 20 – 25 applications. As many graduates will tell you, unfortunately 20 – 25 unsuccessful applications is not unusual. Job vacancies in the banking sector are highly sought after and each one will attract many well-qualified applicants.

As such, it is important to consider the possibility that you are doing nothing wrong when submitting your applications. It could just be that there is too much competition. You state that you already read each job description and tailor each application. This is vital to your chances of application success. Perhaps your time will come – and when it does it is vital to ensure that you prepare as best as you can for the interview.

Secondly, I wonder if you are failing to consider that the experience that you gained in retail may be transferable to banking (especially when this is combined with your qualification in International Finance). For example, customer service, inventory management, cashier handling – this is all experience from the retail sector that could be transferred to the banking sector.

Thirdly, you state that you are applying for job when you see a job advert. Advertised jobs are one way to find employment. However, there are other methods. Some people do not know that they want to recruit until they see a great candidate right in front of them. You may therefore want to consider other ways to get recognized. This could include attending professional events or simply by asking about jobs in branch. Remember if you are going to attend a branch in person, ensure that you are dressed professionally, have a copy of your CV and a cover letter and that you have rehearsed your introduction and why you think you should be considered for a job or any future jobs that may become available.

Stay positive and keep trying.

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8 comments

  1. uday

    hello;
    This is uday desai.I am Zambian By born and wanted to settle myself in zambia…I had completed My Bachelor In Electrical engineering with overall 68% in all 8 semesters.I had even worked as graduate trainee for one year in Torrent Power Ltd Surat, India…I want to get Job as electrical engineer in Mines Or any Production Sectors..Please Help me with Proper Guidance and Motivation…My Contact number is 978389113..Please Your reply will be highly Appreciated

  2. Masauso Tembo

    Hello Go Zambia Jobs,
    Many thanks for the initiative of Careers Agony Aunt Launch as this provides technical guidance to prospective employes and those already in employment but seeking more challenging opportunities.
    Best,

  3. Masenga Masongo

    Dear Prospective Employee,

    You may also want to consider applying for jobs outside the banking industry (e.g. other financila institutions or even retail chain stores, etc).

    I feel that you may be limiting yourself by singling out the banking industry although it is understable as you aspire to work in the banking sector.

    All the best in your endeavours!!

    Best regards,

    M.E.

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