While today’s job climate is is favorable for job seekers, it can still be difficult to break through the noisy application process. I continue to hear more and more candidates ask, “What am I doing wrong? I know I can do this job. Why am I not getting interviewed?”
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:
1. Don’t embellish.
Lying on a resume is more obvious today than it’s ever been. Why would you list a skill if you don’t have? It’s actually easy to see why — because it makes your resume look stellar. Extra skills add to the already glowing list of other things you’ve accomplished in your professional career.
Psych 101 says that the things you’ve listed near the top of your resume or 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. This is a risky move that 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 skills you don’t have. Your candor will get you further than embellishing or stretching the truth.
Read more: Craft an outstanding online resume that will get hiring managers’ attention.
2. Have realistic salary expectations.
Don’t price yourself out of a great position because you aren’t aware of the market value for your skills or experience level. Trying to recover from a previous lay off or get a big salary bump by overpricing yourself in negotiations can be a recipe for a long job hunt–even in this market. You may have more leverage in salary talks than you’ve ever had before, but it’s still smart to place your salary range in the ballpark of market norms for your skills and level of experience.
Read more: These tips can help you navigate salary negotiations with ease.
3. 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. If you’re a senior accountant, don’t apply to be a software engineer. 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, and you’ll end up wasting your own time in the process.
4. Apply once; follow up with an email to confirm the contact received your info.
Sending 28 resumes to the same company won’t get you a call back any quicker than sending just one. Many recruiters’ inboxes fill up between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. with multiple submissions of the same resume. Due to modern contact management tools, almost all of those additional submissions are simply deleted. This means that extra time and effort you put in submitting your resume multiple times was a waste.
What’s more, some systems won’t even allow you to submit more than once, so make your first shot your best one. After submitting your resume or application, send a simple email to the contact asking them to confirm they received it. Most of the time, you’ll get a reply. If you don’t, send another email after waiting a few days.
5. Use a recruiter.
When I say use, I mean utilize. Find a reputable firm, and partner with them. One thing I tell candidates during interviews is that we are all in this together. The job hunt is no longer a “Me, Tarzan; you, Jane” type of experience. Use your recruiter’s contacts, and search with them, instead of sitting at home waiting for the calls to roll in. 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.
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