Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why Aren't Employers Calling Me?

Last week I posted a question to job seekers: "What is the most frustrating part of the job search?"

A common response: "Waiting to hear from potential employers."

The harsh truth: You're not going to hear from most of them. And you just have to expect that.

I applied for a job that was posted on a job board // You have almost zero chance of hearing from them unless they want to interview you. As I mentioned in last week's post, we had almost 200 people apply for one job (many of them were unqualified "carpet bombers" who apply for everything because "you never know"). This is not an uncommon number for a job board posting. The only people who heard from us were those we interviewed. We don't have the people to respond to 200 applicants (remember, we're looking to add someone, so we're already short-handed). That's how it is everywhere.

I sent in a blind resume // See above.

I applied to a job posting on their website // You might hear from them. But most likely it will be a generic "We received your application" auto response.

I sent in a resume because I heard they had an opening // Again, you might hear from them.

No point in being frustrated. You can't change the fact you aren't hearing back from them when they aren't interested. But here's my question to you: why aren't they interested?
  • Did you apply for something you were highly (not just slightly) qualified for?
  • Did you tailor your resume to the job description?
  • Did you write a resume that makes you stand out?
  • Did you list only relevant experience? (We're looking for quality, not quantity.)
  • Did you make sure there were no mistakes in your cover letter and resume?
  • Did you follow all their instructions for submitting an application?
  • Did you send it in on time?
  • Did you sound professional?

Lastly, if you are only applying for jobs that have been posted, that's a big part of the problem. Most jobs are found through networking. We'll talk about that more next time.

The reality is you'll seldom hear back from places you've applied. Just expect that. Let's face it: you only want to hear back from them if they are interested in you anyway.

So make sure they will be interested.

Next time: How to network.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How to Stand Out Among Hundreds of Resumes

(Sorry I've been away so long. Work, ya know. I figured with all the upcoming graduations, now was the time to jump back into regular posting.)

Almost 200 resumes. That's how many resumes we received for a recent job posting.

Among that many resumes, imagine how easy it is to get lost in the pile. Of those 200 resumes, only half made it to my desk. I then eliminated 75% of them after only about 20-30 seconds with each.

That took us down to 25. Which we quickly whittled to 12. That means we eliminated 95% of the resumes without too much trouble (even though it took several hours to get through all of them).

How did those 12 people continue to make the cut and get the all-important phone interview? Simple. They followed these guidelines:
  • Qualified // I know this sounds obvious, but the first 50% were eliminated because they weren't even close to qualified. They were carpet-bombers. They sent out their resume to anything out there. They wasted their time – and ours. Which also means they didn't spend enough time focusing on jobs they were qualified for – and may have missed out on landing.
  • Relevant information // All the information on the resume was relevant to the job we were looking to fill. They left out their coffee shop job, their sorority "responsibilities" and the bullshit info that career services always tells you to put on your resume.
  • Concise, yet specific // Made it easy for the reviewers to find the most important information on their resume. If reviewers have to wade through a bunch of crap to get to what they want, they are likely to bail out of the resume. Remove all extraneous information. Think and rethink every word on your resume.
  • Followed directions // Simple, right? You'd be amazed at how many people didn't follow even the simplest directions. We asked each candidate to answer a few quick questions. There were a few very qualified people who failed to do what we asked. They were eliminated from consideration. It told us they didn't pay attention – which meant they weren't right for the job. Stupid way to miss out on a job.
  • Made us believe // Lastly, they made us believe they were specifically interested in the job we were looking to fill – not just any old job. Their resume was geared towards the job. Their cover letter was specific and not just a template. And they followed all the above steps.
Amazingly, standing out among 200 resumes is easier than you think. You just have to do a few simple things.

Good luck in your search.