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Do You Apply for Jobs but Not Get Interviews

Posted by Rob Riggins

improve-your-job-applicationsThere may be a number of reasons you aren’t getting interviews for the jobs you apply for. You may not be qualified. You may have talented and plentiful competition. Or your applications might need some work.

Check your strategy to see if the following issues may be keeping you from getting employers to call you for an interview.

Read the Instructions in the Job Posting Carefully

Some employers have specific instructions about how they want you to apply for a job and that is part of their screening process. If you don’t follow their guidelines they aren’t going to interview you — whether you’re qualified or not — because they won’t see your application.

Read the job posting closely and follow the direction they provide, if any. Are they asking for a cover letter? Then you better supply one, and make it a good cover letter. Asking you to reference the job number in the email subject line? Be sure to include it. Pay attention when you’re reviewing the job posting and follow all the instructions you’re given.

Be Better than Your Competition

If you’re in field where there is a lot of competition such as Administrative, Logistics, or Help Desk, how do you match up to your competition? Do you have the latest certifications or skills that others in your profession typically have acquired?

If you’re not sure what those skills and certs are, ask. Check with your professional association, peers, Meetup group, or other contacts you have in your profession. The next time you’re at a job fair and talking to a recruiter, ask them if you’re missing any skills they typically see for someone in your profession.

Improve Your Job Applications

Before you apply for a job, research the position and try to contact individuals in the company who can provide you with more background information to improve your application by making it more targeted. Check with your network, including social media, to see if you have any contacts who work for the company.

Contact those individuals to gather more information about the position, department and individuals who work in that department. Work to find experience that is relevant to the position that perhaps wasn’t included in the job description. Certain skills may not be detailed in the position yet they are highly valued by the hiring manager, such as being an excellent presenter, or someone who can deal effectively with difficult people, ambiguous situations, and so on. Your goal is to improve your application and make you stand out from your competition.

Customize Your Resume to the Job Posting

Job seekers often write their resume as their life story. We call that a biographical resume. It meets your needs, but it doesn’t meet the employer’s needs. An employer is looking at your resume to see if you have the skills to meet the requirements of the position you’re applying for. Do you solve their problem?

Customize your resume to meet the requirements of the specific job posting you’re applying for. In describing how you meet the employer’s needs focus on your accomplishments. What are your success stories and how do they relate to the needs of the employer? If you use a generic resume to apply for all jobs, you’re wasting their time and yours.

Use the Employer’s Terminology on Your Resume, Not Yours

No matter the company size this is a relevant comment, but it’s particularly important for medium- to larger-size companies who use applicant tracking systems (ATS). An ATS helps companies manage the resumes they receive. To get past the ATS screening process you must use the keywords that are used in the job posting.

Write your resume to the specific position you’re applying for, using keywords that are used in the job posting and accomplishment statements that are relevant to the position. Use both the common abbreviation for a skill, but also spell it out on the first reference.

Only Apply if You’re Qualified

It’s very easy to apply for jobs today. Too easy. A matter of clicks and your application is in the queue.

Job seekers often apply for jobs they aren’t qualified for without really reviewing the job posting closely, networking with contacts for a potential referral, and customizing their resume and cover letter to the job posting. That’s not a strategy for success.

Before you apply for a job take a good hard look at the job posting qualifications. A general rule of thumb is you should meet about 80% of the job’s requirements if you’re going to apply. It’s not a hard and fast rule. You’ll see job descriptions that are short and vague where you have to read between the lines as to what the employer is really seeking. But it’s a good rule-of-thumb to follow when trying to determine whether or not you apply for a position. In the case of a short and cryptic job description, it’s even more critical to network and gather more information about the position and department to produce an effective application.

If you’re not qualified, don’t apply.

Set yourself up for success when applying for jobs. Apply for fewer jobs while doing a better job with those you do apply for. Demonstrate to the employer how you meet their needs and you’ll be more successful.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 17, 2016 6:57 pm

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