When things don’t go as planned….
I get emails every week from jobseekers who are struggling with their job search because it isn’t generating the interviews they had hoped for.
In many cases, they’re getting no response at all.
They’re glued to their computer and panicking. They start to pick apart their résumé and tweak it over and over again, hoping that it will make a difference. But it doesn’t.
The kind of thoughts that are running through their head are:
“OMG, I have nothing to offer”
“I’m never going to get hired again!”
“I need help but don’t know who to turn to.”
“I want to know what it takes to get an interview.”
“I’m the perfect candidate. This makes no sense.”
“My résumé obviously sucks but I have no idea what to do about it.”
“At this rate, I’ll go bankrupt if I don’t get a job soon.”
“I’m clearly going to end up in the street and die!”
If any of this sounds familiar, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and read the rest of this article.
Remember that saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?
Well, you probably need to do something differently to get a different result.
Assess the situation
#1: Assess your résumé
Is your résumé a modern hybrid/combination format that has been targeted for each position and designed to get through the ATS and Human Reader?
If it’s like 99% of the résumés that cross my desk, that would be a resounding NO and something that needs to be addressed immediately.
While a résumé isn’t going to 100% guarantee you the interview, a so-so one will pretty much guarantee you WON’T get the interview, so this is why it’s essential to have a stand-out résumé when applying to jobs online and definitely when networking.
The best way to find out if your résumé meets professional résumé writing standards, you should have it reviewed by a professional résumé writer.
Don’t ask the opinion of friends or family member because they’ll just steer you in the wrong direction.
#2: Assess your cover letter
Are you applying to jobs with an equally impressive cover letter?
Don’t send the same cover letter to different positions – you have to customize it just like the résumé. It also shouldn’t be too long and not be a rehash of the résumé which is pointless.
The cover letter must follow the same rules as the résumé which is to focus on key contributions and accomplishments, include metrics ($, %, #, timelines), contain enough white space, be error free, among other things.
If you don’t have a cover letter, you should because it can often inspire the human reader to read the résumé.
#3: Assess your Linkedin profile
If you don’t have a Linkedin profile you need one regardless of what some people might like you to think.
Linkedin is used by HR, Recruiters, and Hiring Managers to find candidates whether they have résumés in their database or not.
In fact, they often compare the résumé to the Linkedin profile to see if there are any discrepancies in the information which they might use as a reason to not consider that candidate.
If you have a Linkedin profile, you need to make sure that it has been optimized fully so that it’s attracting maximum profile views and generating interviews – or at least motivating the viewer to reach out to you for your résumé.
Once again, creating a Linkedin profile involves many of the same principles as creating a modern résumé. This isn’t something you can just slap together and hope for the best. It’s just as important than the résumé and serves a slightly different function.
You need to make sure that you’ve created a clear, compelling, and keyword-rich headline, 2000-character summary, and work experience section impact statements, all of which should communicate your unique value proposition which is not just listing your duties and responsibilities.
You might want to consult a professional résumé writer who knows how to create a stand-out Linkedin profile.
In the meantime, you can read the articles below:
#4: Assess your job applications
Are you applying to jobs that you are qualified for? Be honest.
It’s not rocket science – the more qualified you are, the more results you’ll get. The less qualified you are, the less results you’ll get. However, getting results depends on how good your résumé, cover letter, and Linkedin profile are.
Furthermore, qualifications go beyond just skills, experience, and education. It can include many other things such as where you live. Yes – location is a TOP selection criteria as I’ve explained in this previous article.
Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making a total career change, but you need to be realistic about how long that’s going to take you and what’s involved to get you there.
The more you can demonstrate to a potential employer that you are investing time and money in courses, work shops, job shadowing, industry research, informational meetings, and things of that nature, the more likely they will be interested in considering you for a position you might not technically be qualified for.
Also note, that making a career change can also include re-entry into the job market after a long hiatus which would require a robust strategy to address a major work gap. Consulting a career professional is recommended, at least to give you some direction and maybe some referrals if nothing else.
Sometimes it makes more sense to target the lowest hanging fruit first to at least get the process started and get those interviews even if you’re not totally excited about the positions because they are opportunities to learn more as well as practice your interview skills.
In any event, if you are making a career change or re-entry into the work force, you should probably consult with a career professional to determine how to showcase any transferable skills/experience and how to minimize or downplay any work gaps.
#5: Assess your networking
Applying to jobs online is okay and I’m not going to tell you not to do it but don’t expect it to return good results, if any.
The process is designed to weed you out. In fact, you have more changes of getting hit by lightening twice then getting a job this way.
Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s still not the ideal tactic.
Here’s the reality – The minute you apply online, your résumé goes to HR who then in many (if not most) cases does not pass your résumé along because you are not that “perfect” candidate in their eyes. They want everything on their wish list which most candidates don’t have.
A far better way to get a job is by networking with Hiring Managers from the companies you are interested in working for, whether they have a job posted or not. They are the ones with the hiring pain and also know exactly what they need – not HR.
I recommend you take matters into your own hands and reach out to Hiring Managers, but you will need to contact a lot to generate interest, informational meetings, and potential interviews. It’s a numbers game – the more you have a conversation with, the closer you are to a “YOU’RE HIRED!”
When you need to change your game plan
So, the next time you’re feeling completely freaked out because your job search isn’t going the way you’d hoped or planned, do the assessment and make the necessary improvements to your documents and Linkedin profile or hire a professional to do this for you.
Résumé and interview help is only a click away!
Grab the 32-point Résumé Inspection
If you’re not sure how well your résumé will pass through the computer filters and attract the interest of hiring managers, you can grab the 32-point Résumé Inspection.
This is a a comprehensive assessment of your entire résumé, personalized feedback (from me!), links to more help, and downloadable resources to help you make improvements if that’s what you want to do. Click on this link to learn learn more.
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Hi! I’m Diana.
I leverage over 10 years recruitment and sales/marketing experience to create attention-grabbing résumés, cover letters, and Linkedin profiles that help job seekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired. You can learn more about my story here and about how I can help you here.
Need help? That’s what I’m here for!
Are you in the midst of a job search and not getting the results you want? Or are you’re thinking of making a change and want to make sure you get started off on the right foot? Then I recommend you reach out for some help. You can contact me directly here!
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