You've prepared your resume, written a stellar cover letter, and applied for job after job online. But you haven't heard back from any for an interview. What's going wrong?
Beating the odds during the job search takes perseverance, determination, and a little bit of luck. Though applying for jobs online is certainly less painful than networking, less than 50% of hires come from the plethora of job boards job seekers use online.
What's the best strategy to finding a job without applying for hundreds of jobs online? Read on for our tips and strategies to help you land the interview.
Optimize your resume for ATS.
Many companies, both large and small, receive so many applicants for each position that they've started using applicant tracking systems (ATS), essentially robots that sort through resumes based on keyword searches. They often leave out candidates due to formatting inconsistencies and lack of the right keywords. When you don't optimize for an ATS, your resume is most likely never seeing a human. HireRight has some great tips on their Meet the Robots Reading Your Resume infographic. The key takeaways? Use keywords from the job description, put contact information at the top of the page (not in the header), and use web-standard fonts. Do not abbreviate, use graphics, or submit a PDF. If you're wondering why you've never heard back, first check your resume to make sure you're submitting the most optimized version for each job posting.
Target the companies you want to work for.
Some job applicants spend little time reading through job descriptions. But finding the perfect job often isn't the problem--it's getting the interview. Finding a list of target companies, companies you'd like to work for, can help you better narrow your search and identify key contacts at those companies. Though many people want to avoid networking altogether, it's always helpful to have find someone on the inside to help get your resume in front of the right people. If you can't find someone in the organization to connect to, and the company doesn't have any job openings that suite your experiences, try reaching out anyways. Some hiring managers are known to be on the lookout for great talent all the time. Spending more time targeting the right company will cause you to be more selective and thus free up more time to spend applying for the job you want rather than the job that's just been posted.
How many times have you applied for a job because you meet some of the qualifications? It can be a risky strategy to promise more than you can deliver or even lie about your skills and experiences. No one wants to get into a job set up to fail! Looking for jobs that fit your qualifications can narrow your job search and save you time. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't apply for more challenging or superior roles, it just means that taking a realistic look at what the company wants and what you can deliver can help you better prioritize your job search.
Job searching has changed vastly. With so many mediums to find and apply for jobs, job seekers can be overwhelmed by the amount of options available to job search. Serial job applying can be a wasted strategy. Taking the time to understand what you're looking for and how companies find talent can save you lots of form rejection emails and, most important when it comes to job searching, time.
What are your best job search strategies? Share them with us in the comments.