How best to reply to a Job Vacancy
What if the ad is old?
Don't dismiss old job ads because you think three to five month old ads may not be relevant anymore. They are excellent opportunities for getting attention. Most ads are placed to replace a person who has been working at the company for a while. The company is probably looking for a person with the same level of expertise. If the company fails to locate a person with the same experience and qualifications, they may be willing to look at an inexperienced or less qualified person. Most people will not glance at the old classified advertisements, which means that you won't have any competition on that level.
You should not respond to the ad, but rather send your CV, a targeted cover letter, and a clear indication that you are suitable for the specific position. Indicate that you heard from a trusted source that the specific job may be available and that you are interested.
Another method for responding to job ads
You may not exactly fit the job profile, but your qualifications, skills, and experience are related. When this is the case, you should send or deliver your CV and cover letter. One way to ensure that the recruiter sees the relevance of your experience, skills and qualifications, is to list the job requirements in one column and your work history, skills and experience in a second column. Try to match them as far as possible. This makes the recruiter's task a bit easier and makes you stand out.
The contact person
You by now realize that you have to address a specific person. Some job advertisements have more than one contact name. The secret is to make use of the last listed contact since everyone else will go for the first person. This means that you will have to compete with fewer applications addressed to that person; providing you with an edge.
What if the ad only states a postal address?
Some ads only state the postal address, with no contact or company name. Since post office boxes must be registered, you can find out who to contact and what the company's name is, by calling the post office. If they don't want to give the details, you can simply state that they placed an ad in the newspaper and you just want to know who the advertiser is. If they don't give you the information you can also tell them the Information Law states that they must provide the owner of the post box's name if the owner uses that box to implore something from the public.
Once you have the information, contact the company's recruitment officer and mention that you heard they are looking for a person to fill the specified position and indicate that you are the right candidate. The person will be caught off guard and you can use the opportunity to indicate that a contact told you about the position. Provide a list of your qualifications and experience that are relevant to the position.
These methods for responding to job ads are unconventional and will thus increase your chances of getting the interview and the job.
See Part I