I regularly get emails from frustrated job seekers asking for advice about their job search. Many of them are at their wits’ end because they submit themselves to dozens or even hundreds of jobs and don’t even get an invitation to interview. I recently saw an article online that talked about job seekers who have applied to 1000 jobs with no invites to an interview session. Here are my top reasons for why job seekers don’t get called (in no particular order of importance):
: Today’s job searches require a great deal of customization. The glory days of the 1980s where you could submit the same generic resume to any job are long over. Now, human resource teams are a lot more sophisticated and methodical than they used to be; so you need to customize your resume to highlight your past experience to match the job description – and be sure to include key words from the job description on your resume.
: Job seekers should be aware that many recruiters and HR departments use software to scan and sort resumes, so if your resume has text boxes, for example, then you could be preventing the software from doing its job. Keep your resume simple; don’t have a lot of bells and whistles.
: Job seekers should never, ever submit a photo of themselves. In today’s litigious society, companies are always afraid of being sued. You may think that you’re “personalizing” your submission so the employer can put a name with a face, but you actually disqualify yourself from the running by doing so. You may, however, put a hyperlink on your digital resume to your LinkedIn profile; but make sure your photo is professional-looking – so no selfies or cute poses!
: There is a great deal of misinformation about this topic on the internet. Most job seekers don’t submit a cover letter because they are either too lazy to do so, or they heard that recruiters don’t read them anyway – it’s absolutely not true! HR departments want a cover letter because they want to see if you can write intelligently (with no grammar errors). They do, in fact, read cover letters submitted by qualified candidates that are short-listed. Not only should you have a cover letter, you should explain specifically why you’re right for the job – but keep it short and sweet.
: These days, job seekers should focus on quality, not quantity. It’s better to put a lot of energy into job applications that will bear fruit. Don’t waste time and energy submitting yourself to a job you probably won’t get. Don’t make it look like you’re clutching at straws.
: Your e-mail address should never be anything other than some version your name; so if you have “radical_chick” or “super_stud” then you’re going to get rejected. Also, some HR managers don’t like submissions from a domain name at your current job because it looks like you’re using your current employer’s time to find a new job.
: There are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of articles online about people who have been fired for posts on social media, or ones that talk about how HR teams Google your name before they call potential candidates in; and yet with all of this overwhelming information, job seekers don’t seem to heed the warnings and post controversial things online with no regard whatsoever. Folks, it’s a CAREER ENDER! Make sure you scour the internet and clean up your online dirty laundry.
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