'The new rude' article by Helen Kirwan-Taylor in The Sunday Times, could equally apply to the job market. She highlights the demise of etiquette in modern life and the ease at which technology allows us to flippantly cancel arrangements, regardless of the inconvenience or disappointment to others. Is life really so busy that we accept invitations or schedule appointments, only to simply forget them? Surely not, especially in the age of multiple diary devices to hand. Over the last few years we have listened to candidates, recruiters and companies bemoan a growing lack of courtesy and candour in a recruitment process. Comments from companies and recruiters that began as indignation at the counter offers, interview no shows or unreturned calls, are now relayed with a weariness and sense of inevitability. Frustrated candidates remark about receiving no feedback after submitting a CV or attending an interview. Unfortunately poor experiences have a habit of influencing future behaviours. 'The new rude' may be considered socially acceptable amongst friends and acquaintances, however, apply it to a recruitment process at your cost. It's a small world. Reneging on an acceptance will be long remembered, as will the director who keeps you waiting in reception. It works both ways. The easiest way for both individuals and companies to stand out from the crowd, is to simply not to follow it. Good interview etiquette provides an advantage in the competitive job market and helps candidates stand out from the crowd. Regardless of the outcome of a recruitment process, good personal experiences make lasting positive impressions.
In the quest for a personal statement to stand out and be more original, many University applications fall unwittingly into traps. The irony being that far from appearing unique, they are not remotely individual, worse still, they're pure cliché. You may think that you're the first to be inspired by a quote from Coco Chanel, but according to UCAS (as reported by Sian Griffiths in The Sunday Times) 200 students used the same quote in one year alone. Personal statements need to show passion and commitment, and say something about you. The Mount Kilimanjaro trip initially just tells the individual screening the forms that you had the funds to get there. Was it simply courtesy of parents or through hard-earned fund raising? If it's the latter be sure to highlight it! Admissions tutors want to see what inspires you and what enriching experiences you've had, however, they need to show relevance and personal benefit. If your personal statement is not original, then plagiarism detection will be on your side as it culls your competition, if not, your application will be met by a jaded admissions tutor and find itself on the wrong pile.