While today’s job climate is one that is favorable for active job seekers, it is still difficult to break through the noisy application process. I continue to hear more and more candidates ask the question, “What am I doing wrong? I know I can do this job. Why can’t I get hired?”
The market is continually changing. If you are on the hunt, you’ve got to do it differently in order to stand out. Below are five simple tips that might help put your job search in the fast lane:
- Don’t embellish. Lying on a resume is more obvious today than it ever was. Why would you list it if you know you don’t have that skill? I know why — because it makes your resume look stellar. It adds to the already glowing list of other things you’ve accomplished in your professional career. Psych 101 says that the things you’ve listed nearest the top of a resume and mentioned multiple times are the things you are most comfortable doing. Most job seekers today are straining to add words, stats and tasks so that their resume looks better than their competition. It will come back to haunt you, so just don’t do it. Highlight what you are best at, but also come clean when asked about something that you’ve not done. Your candor will get you further.
- Have realistic salary expectations. Don’t price yourself out of the market just because you think you deserve it more than the next person. Trying to recover from a previous lay off by over pricing yourself today is a bad idea. Assume that there are 15 other people applying for the same job. You must be more aggressive in this market. Pride is the 800-pound gorilla — let go of it and land the job.
- Don’t apply for jobs you know you can’t do. If you are a software QA specialist, don’t apply to be a senior director of regulatory compliance. Read the job description in full detail and only apply to the positions for which you have the skills. It feels good to send out a bunch of resumes, but going through the motions isn’t going to yield faster rewards in your job search.
- Apply once and follow up with an email to confirm the receipt. Sending 28 resumes to the same company won’t get you a call back any quicker than sending one. My inbox fills up typically between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. with multiple submissions of the same resume. The additional submissions are deleted. The contact management tools of today are smarter than you think and if you submit more than one, it’s automatically 86’d. Some systems won’t allow you to submit more than once, so make your first shot your best one. After submitting, send a simple email to the contact asking to confirm the receipt. Most of the time you’ll get a reply. If you don’t, send another email in a few days. Recruiters in this market are averaging 150 to 300-plus resume submissions per day. It’s a lot to dig through and it takes time, so be patient.
- Use a recruiter. When I say use, I mean use. Find a reputable firm and partner with them. Part of what I tell people today during interviews is that we are all in this together. It’s no longer a “Me, Tarzan; you, Jane” type of experience. Use their contacts and search with them, versus sitting at home waiting on a call. If you come across a listing that fits your skill set, call your recruiter and ask them what they know about the company. There’s a better than average chance that they’ll know someone on the inside that might be able to get you in the door faster. Word to the wise: If you don’t trust your recruiter, find another one. This is your career, this is how you put food on the table and this is how you pay your mortgage or rent — don’t waste your time with someone that’s not working hard enough for you.