A Great Resume Needs a Great Job Search Strategy.
It happened again. Another client reached out to ask me for additional support because it had been six months since we’d completed her resume and she was still unemployed. She had expanded her job search outside of her preferred industry for which her resume had been tailored and she hadn’t been networking or utilizing LinkedIn in her job search. None of these choices were doing anything to optimize her chances of landing a position. I advised her accordingly. I am happy to report she was hired the same week she contacted me and is happily employed. But our interaction reminded me of a blog I wrote in January that will be helpful to others with the same question – why isn’t my resume getting more attention?!
I had a client reach out to me recently asking me why he wasn’t getting any responses from the resume I’d prepared for him six weeks ago. While a resume is one of two effective ways to get an interview, there are other variables to consider when not getting a response. Here is some of the information I shared with him.
The fact is unemployment is still high. The types of jobs being created are primarily government positions or part-time positions. If those are the types of roles you are applying for you’re going to have more opportunity. If not, you will still be competing with lots of other talented and experienced professionals for each position. The typical job search prior to the recession lasted about six weeks. In our current job market it can take up to six months and longer if you are seeking a salary higher than $100,000. You’ve got to temper your expectations with reality when starting your job search.
The way you fill out online applications could be knocking you out of the running before a human being glances at your resume. The tricky part of an online application is salary. When an employer asks for a salary requirement they are looking for a way to disqualify you from the search. If you put in an amount outside the range they pay for the position, you’re out. If you put in an amount too low for the level of the position you are applying for it could betray a lack of experience or knowledge of the industry. Simply put in “000000” if you’re open on salary rather than putting in an amount. The ATS will read it as a value and not as an empty box on the application.
Not Knowing What You Really Want To Do
Is the resume tailored to the positions you are applying for? A resume should be geared to the type of position you are targeting. It should NOT be written to speak to many types of positions. Even though I discuss this with clients when we work on their resume some don’t take the advice and request a “general” resume or revise the resume I create to be more generic.
Doing this only confuses your reader. A potential employer is going to have a hard time seeing you as a perfect fit for a Digital Marketing Specialist position if you put as much emphasis on your retail management and administrative support positions because you want to keep your options open for those types of positions as well. You want your resume to frame you as the ideal fit for the Digital Marketing Specialist position. Therefore you’ll want to highlight all work experience relevant to the skill sets needed for a Digital Marketing Specialist position and then tailor a resume to retail management or administrative support when applying to those positions.
Applying for positions you’re not qualified for
This happens frequently. Dreaming big and seeking to jump a few steps in your career is admirable. It is not unheard of that someone would make this big a leap but a promotion of that scale typically involves personal connections who are familiar with your accomplishments and experience to date. If your resume doesn’t show serious accomplishments with quantifiable results attesting to the size and scope of the projects you’ve worked on and a work history that shows you’re ready for a promotion from District Manager to Regional Vice President, your resume will be tossed.
Your Personal Network
Are you using your personal network? Many job seekers overlook the people they know as resources for information about industries, companies and potential jobs. Make sure your network knows you are looking for a job. Identify the people in your network who work for companies or in industries you would like to work in and ask if you can chat with them quickly over coffee or the phone about their company. See what you can find out. More than likely the person will be happy to help you in any way they can. Another oft neglected resource is LinkedIn.com. While many job seekers are members few utilize it to its greatest impact. I contend it is the most underutilized job seeker resource out there. Brush up on LinkedIn by watching one of their many webinars on using the site in your job search.
Make sure you integrate these steps into your job search strategy and you will get more attention.
To your success,