I love this time of the year. The holidays bring joy and happiness to many people. I enjoyed listening to all of my favorite Christmas songs, watching my kids unwrap their favorite toys, and spending time with loved ones. It’s interesting pulling up Facebook and LinkedIn and reading people’s goals for 2020. 2019 was a big year in so many ways, and now we all start with a fresh, clean slate. Will you be doing the same for your job search to land your dream job?
Some of you, including myself, landed your dream job last year. Others are either still looking or are about to start the process. If your lack of calls or emails from potential employers has gotten you down, even though you applied for 250 jobs, have you taken a step back and evaluated your process? Have you asked the simple question, “Why aren’t companies contacting me to schedule an interview?” Ask yourself these important questions:
1. Is my resume in a simple, professional, easy to scan format?
This is probably the easiest, and most important fix. I look at resumes every day and I find errors in many of them. Some errors are grammatical while others are spelling. You would be blown away at what some people think is “professional.”
Additionally, did you take the time to create a resume so a recruiter, or hiring manager, can pull the information they’re looking for within seconds? According to a study released by TheLadders, an online job-matching service, recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual resume (not minutes, as is the common perception). If you haven’t had at least two or three professionals review your resume, start reaching out to people who will give you constructive criticism and are detailed enough to find any mistakes.
Finally, for each job that you apply for, create a new, customized resume. Using one resume to apply for hundreds of jobs will make it harder to land your dream job. You’ll want to create a different resume if you’re applying for a Diesel Technician job then you would a Truck Sales Executive job.
2. Am I filling out the companies’ app, or am I applying through a job board, like Indeed?
If a company says they’ll accept any Indeed or Facebook applications (which provide very little information, typically), you’ve saved yourself a lot of time. Oftentimes, companies create “apps” on these sites just to get people’s interest and contact information. In the end, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll need to apply on their careers page (many companies, especially the larger ones, have gone away with paper applications).
3. Am I applying for jobs that I’m qualified for?
When I was looking for a new job in 2015, I was extremely interested in training/leadership and development. However, I had zero experience. And very few connections. Looking back, I shouldn’t have been surprised that I was rejected for all of those jobs that I applied for. Also, if you have only been in the workforce for a limited number of years, you may not be the ideal candidate for a management position.
4. Does my resume have several keywords taken from the job description?
Unfortunately, not every company has a human being that’s initially reviewing your resume. Some companies utilize resume screening tools, or bots, to screen and sift through all of their applications. They’re the first gatekeeper before a human takes a look at it. How do you get past the bots? It’s not easy, but make sure that you choose your words and keywords wisely. Your resume needs to be formatted so it can be “accurately read”, but keyword optimization is just as important. Take a look at the job description and add a few of the companies’ keywords in your resume (at least 2 or three times). The Work Experience section is a great place to put them. If you can find an appropriate place for them in your Education section, even better.
5. Am I following up with each company?
And when I say follow up, I don’t mean within 5 minutes after you apply. Recruiters get annoyed when you call right after you applied. Give it at least three business days. Five at the most. Should you call or email? Take your pick. If you can only find one or the other your options are limited. But if you have both a number and an email, I’d go with an email. You can take as long as you want crafting your perfect message, and if you make a mistake, you can edit it before clicking the send button. Also, you can send your email to multiple people at once.
6. Am I networking with professionals in the industry that I’m interested in working in?
Business is all about relationships. For example, if you’re in the finance industry and you’re trying to find a new career in the medical industry, but don’t have any contacts/connections, or experience, how likely do you think it is that someone will take a chance and hire you? There are a couple of actions you can take:
- Hop on LinkedIn and send requests to employees that work at the companies that you’re interested in working for.
- Join your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary/Kiwanis club, or young professionals organization and attend their events.
- Join the industries’ trade group and attend one of their upcoming conferences. If you don’t start building relationships, you’re missing out on a great opportunity for someone within a company to go to bat for you.
7. Are your social media pages set to private?
According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. You could, if you wanted to, spend hours upon hours trying to clean up your profiles. Or, you could take a few minutes, Google how to set your page to private, and preserve everything on it.