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Norwich employers mass mailed job applications

Employers in Norwich are being overwhelmed by job seekers "ritualistically" mass mailing job applications.

An Evening News survey revealed that while some job adverts are attracting as many as 80 applicants for each job, employers say many of the CVs they are receiving show little effort or consideration for what the job involves – and that there are still skills gaps in Norwich.

Norwich power tool and fixings firm CAN Fixings received 70 applications for a book keeper and administrative role while the Timber Hill Health Centre in Norfolk received 80 applications for a £16,000 a year receptionist and administrator.

When the Clas Ohlson store opened in Chapelfield last month, more than 300 people applied for 30 jobs at the store, and managing director Mark Gregory said they were “overwhelmed”.

And Bennetts electrical stores in Norwich had around 150 applications for six jobs when they recruited part-time Christmas staff. Caroline Williams, chief executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses are still advising that they that cannot find the quality of candidate they need at a time when there are more and more people looking for jobs.

“I suppose what people looking for jobs need to understand is that sending block applications is not going to get you the job.

“Somebody looking for a job has to tailor their CV and letter to the employer that makes them see why they should take them.

“Our members cover everything from skilled to unskilled work and they are seeing more applications but not necessarily better, not necessarily more quality targeted applications.

“Do a bit or research on the company you are sending it to and you have a better chance.

“The people who are making the effort are quite a small percentage.

“Rather than sending out 50 applications they should send out 10 careful ones and then they would have a chance.”

She said that employers were also facing a skills gap with many candidates failing to have the appropriate qualifications and experience for a role.

She said that people looking for jobs should consider training and apprenticeship schemes.

“There is a skills gap and people will need to retrain. There are opportunities. Now the modern apprenticeship is extending up the age group. It will be worth people reviewing how they can go into education training and boost up their skills.”

She said people would also have to learn how to shift between working for the public sector and the private sector.

Nick Clover, owner and managing director of CAN Fixings, said many of the people who had applied for the role as bookkeeper at his firm did not even have any book keeping experience.

He said: “Out of desperation people are applying for every job that’s advertised. It’s not difficult to weed them out. There are a lot of desperate people out there applying for jobs almost ritualistically for the sake of it, knowing they are not qualified. They ought to consider how much of their own time they are wasting, as well as ours.

“A lot of the applications are very poorly presented. People have no idea how an employer will look at fairly obvious things like the state of the envelope.

“A lot of people have even failed to get the name of the business right. Have they got no idea of the image they present of themselves?”

Peter Mitchell, managing director of department store Jarrolds said they had taken on 50 extra staff over the Christmas period and there had been many more applications for vacancies than in previous years.

But, he said the calibre of their Christmas staff had been better than ever.

“We had an exceptionally good intake of part time staff. We really noticed the calibre. Some of these we have found a way to keep them on. In some cases we have created a role.”

But a new survey from recruitment, human resource and training firm Reed in Partnership suggests that the East of England is faring better than many other areas of the country with the number of applicants for each job falling between 2009 and 2010.

According to its survey, jobseekers in Great Yarmouth face the toughest competition for jobs in the East of England with 12.2 people chasing every vacancy.

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