If you are not getting enough interviews or job offers then it is time to analyze your job search strategy. Here is a quick way to drill down to the core issues that will need adjusting.
Situation: I am not getting enough calls for interviews.
If the phone is not ringing then either your resume is not good or you are not getting it into the right hands.
Look at your resume and scan it for 20 seconds, the same way an employer would. If you don't say, I would hire this person, then it probably needs work.
Does it have a strong opening that distinguishes you? Is there a compelling theme? If you are unsure, send it to us for a FREE Resume Evaluation. Or have it professionally done, just be careful as there are a lot of scams and bad services on the web so see my FREE 10-Point Checklist on How to Choose a Resume Writing Service.
If the resume is good, then you need to review your distribution strategy. There are only a few ways to get the resume out and these include job boards and company web sites, recruiters, networking and direct mail/contact.
Of these, the job boards and company web sites have the least effectiveness rate and this is where most people's job search strategies fall down. When you send your resume through the Internet, you go into the big black hole in human resources and are at the mercy of applicant tracking systems and junior clerks weeding out candidates. In fact, a hiring manager recently told me that she gets over 500 resumes for a job board posting. She looks at the first 50 and if she can't get 5 candidates to bring in, she looks at the next 50. That means hundreds of candidates are not even having their resume seen.
If this sounds like you, then adjust how you respond to job board openings and also allocate a lot more time to more effective search techniques like networking.
My advice to clients is to NEVER send your resume over the Internet. Once you see a position is opened, go to LinkedIn, do a company search and identify the hiring manager and their staff. Now do one of two things:
- Ask yourself, Who do I know that knows someone who can make an introduction for me. This is basic networking and you can use LinkedIn Groups and Q&A to see who is communicating with them.
- Alternatively, but not as effective, give the decision maker a call and say something like: A friend told me you might be interested in someone with my background. I have (insert your 2-sentence pitch), and I have just a few questions for you. Then ask them some questions that show you've done some homework on their company. Be very friendly, down to earth and personable and get into a conversation with them. At some point they will ask you for your resume at which point you have now put yourself at the top of the decision maker's pile and skipped the HR screeners.
In general, job boards should not be more than 30% of how you spend your time. Networking is far more effective and this has become much easier when you use LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to connect with people.
Situation: I am getting interviews, but no offers.
If you are getting interviews but are not moving to subsequent rounds or are not getting the offer, then you need to improve your interviewing skills. Start by answering these key questions:
- Did you research the interviewer on LinkedIn before you went in?
- Did you turn the interview into a conversation?
- Did you build rapport with the interviewer?
- Are you clear about what the biggest challenge would be to someone in this position?
- Did you identify any objections or issues regarding your candidacy?
- Do you have a clear timeline for following up?
If you are unclear as to whether you achieved the above, then you need to change how you interview. There are good books on the subject and you can always hire a career coach to do a mock interview so you can learn how to control the interview.
With the new year here, spend a few minutes today to identify where your search needs help.