Sometimes when you send out resumes and apply for jobs, all you get back is frustration. Applying to lots of jobs but not getting interview calls can be disheartening.
No one is calling you back for interviews and you start to question your application strategies.
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Today when talking to someone who had sent in over 100 applications and resumes but had yet to receive any calls for an interview, something became very clear when thinking about my experience as an interviewer and what stands out.
There are ways and methods to work smarter, not harder, when applying for jobs.
Now before we break down these ways, I want you to know that this isn’t about beating the system or the HR software lots of companies use now to identify resumes. Some people will tell you how to beat HR software; I’m here to help you genuinely communicate what you can contribute to an organization effectively so they’ll want you on their side.
Here are some things to consider if you are finding you are not getting called for interviews.
1. It isn’t you.
Stop beating yourself up now. This is not an indictment on you or what you can or cannot do. This is not an indicator that you are unemployable. If you have any of these thoughts creep into your head, I beg you now to not let your mind trick you with negativity. What this is truly an indicator of is that you are still learning how to communicate yourself effectively. Job searching is an iterative process that requires a lot of trial and error. Give yourself the grace to experience those iterations.
2. Narrow down jobs you apply for.
When you see a job that looks like you might be a strong applicant for, look closely at the job description. Make sure you are qualified for at least 80% of it based on what’s on your resume. Lots of people send out many resumes without verifying the job description first. If you focus your efforts on these roles, then you will have a higher likelihood that your resume gets picked out of the applicant pile
3. Have a strong ‘base resume’ that outlines your skills.
It should take an HR professional no more than a few seconds to find out what it is you do. In other words, make sure your technical skills are highlighted at the top of your resume, easy to read, and in plain sight so that the recruiter’s eyes go to it first.
Technical skills might be any certifications you have (ie. Engineer, Electrician, etc) as well as skills you may have used in previous positions. Examples of mine would be People Leadership, Operations Management Excellence, Certified Interviewer, Project Management, and Process Improvement. Googling this for examples of resumes with skills at the top would help you get this down pat.
As well, if you have the technical skills listed at the top, it might help prevent you from being typecast into a specific industry. Most skills are transferrable to many industries. However, if you lead you with the industry you’ve been working in, you might get passed over by a recruiter. If you list the skills you can contribute, the recruiter will focus on whether those skills can be used in their industry.
4. Tailor that resume for each role you apply for.
Once you have a strong base resume and you’ve narrowed down the jobs you are applying for, now you need to make sure your resume speaks to the role you are applying for. Update your highlighted technical skills and the experience listed further down the resume to match the job you are applying for.
For instance, while listing my skills above, scheduling was left out. If I was applying for a role that listed scheduling as a desired technical skill or as part of the job description, I could highlight it as a technical skill at the top having done scheduling tasks in the past. Also, you might list different accomplishments in the experience section of your resume based on what the posted job description is looking for to demonstrate you have experienced what they need.
Now, don’t lie to meet the demands of the job description. You likely won’t meet every requirement and that is okay. Remember, we are aiming for a match of 80% or higher in the job description.
I know this requires a fair amount of work, but if you have a strong base resume, it won’t require a significant amount of carving it up to be able to do this for each role. A strong base resume will allow you to easily update the details in it to the job you are applying for.
If you pay attention to the types of jobs you are applying for, having a strong base resume that is easy to edit, and tailor your resume you are applying for, you will increase your chances of getting noticed by recruiters and landing those interviews!
If you need any help or guidance through this process, or even help with your resume, let me know!