Think of your job search journey like a hose in your front yard. When it’s going well, the water flows strong from the water source all the way to the end of the hose. But today, you turned the water on and it’s not making its way to the spout. The problem? There’s a kink in the hose.
If you’ve been on the hunt for a new job for a while with no success, then like that hose, your job search process has a kink in it. Let’s find out exactly where it is and how to work it out.
Problem: You’re not getting interviews
Solution: Tailor your resume
If you can’t find a job and your resumes all seem to disappear into a dark abyss as soon as you hit “submit,” chances are that’s exactly what’s happening. A generic resume containing no tailored keywords will more than likely be filtered out or lost by the applicant tracking system (ATS) and never seen by the hiring manager.
The very first step in making your resume more visible is to tailor it to ATS and the job. Tailoring your resume means matching the keywords in your resume to those in the job posting.
It’s possible that when tailoring your resume, you’ll find the jobs you’re applying for aren’t quite the right fit for your skills and qualifications, which could be why you’re not getting interviews.
Problem: Your tailored resume hasn’t landed you a job
Solution: Focus on details
Your resume may be getting past the ATS but getting thrown out by the recruiter or hiring manager. The solution is to add more attention-grabbing details.
Measurable results are a great place to start, especially if your resume is full of Plain Jane job duties. A measurable result is a quantifiable achievement from a past or current job and typically contains numbers, dollar amounts, and/or percentages.
For example, transform “produced a number of new programs” into “introduced 6 new programs that attracted over 450 students” by adding specific numbers and results. It’s good practice to include at least five measurable results for a compelling resume. If you’re using Jobscan, you’ll notice that it checks your resume for sufficient measurable results.
Another important lesson in detailing is to follow the directions given in the job listing. For example, if a job post asks for a writing sample of up to 500 words, sending a 1,000-word sample could get your resume thrown out. Many jobs will also request that candidates use a specific subject line on an application email or that they send a very short cover letter. Ignoring these requests shows a lack of attention to detail and will not bode well for your application.
Problem: You’re getting interviews, but no job offers
Solution: Polish your resume skills
If it’s interviews that seem to be the common roadblock for you, consider the factors that might be causing you to fall short. Are you showing up on time and fully prepared for your interview? Are you dressing nicely and looking sharp? Being sloppy, either in appearance or preparedness, will make a poor first impression.
To prepare for an interview, you should do your research. On a company’s homepage, you can can read up on its history and get a feel for company culture. You can also look for pictures of employees to get a better idea of dress code and appropriate interview attire.
When choosing an interview outfit, always dress at least one step above the employee dress code. For example, if the employees dress very casual, you should dress business casual.
Check out Glassdoor for the inside scoop on employee experiences, interview questions and average salary. Take your research a step further by visiting the company’s social media channels and conducting a thorough Google Search.
Finally, practice interview questions with a friend to calm your nerves and get you thinking like an interviewee. Part of making a good first impression is showing that you are a confident communicator. In the days before an interview, practice sitting up straight, uncrossing your arms during conversation and keeping strong eye contact.
Problem: You’re landing jobs, but the job offers are falling short
Solution: Make your resume the best fit
If job offers are falling short (including salary offerings), then you might not be highlighting your top selling points well enough. First, narrow your resume to reflect your value, starting with the skills and experience that make you the best for the job. When focusing your resume, the best tool you have at your disposal is the job posting.
As Silicon Valley recruiter Linda Tuerk put it, “This is a time where specifics matter. There’s specific talent being requested. Pay attention and respond to that.”
You need to prove that you’re the perfect fit for the job. If the job description lists certain skills that you have, those are the skills to highlight in your resume and in interviews. Remember, if your resume is overflowing with too much irrelevant information, you run the risk of the hiring manager missing that which makes you the most qualified candidate.
Is the task of narrowing your resume a challenge for you? Consider building and maintaining a career management document or master resume in order to have a solid foundation and keep your thoughts organized.
If you haven’t yet landed a job, it’s time to look for the roadblock. Whether it’s something with your resume, interview skills, or the scope of your job search that needs improving, little changes can make a big difference.