To increase your chances of finding a job in your career field, consider joining a professional association in your field. The cost of joining a career-oriented association is usually very low, and this can be a good investment in your field as you can network with other people who share your interest in the field that you work in. This can give you a chance to hear about job opportunities that are not always listed on the usual job listing venues! Not only do you get to expand your network of professional connections, you also gain the chance to hear about great companies to work for!
One way to legitimately boost your chances in a job interview would be to read recent news relevant to the field that you work in to find topics that can show your interest in making the job function better for your prospective employer. For example, if you work as an accountant and you have a CPA license, you could bring up a recent news story about new legislation relevant to financial reporting. By doing this you can show the interviewer that you care about the field that you work in, and that you are eager to find ways to help your prospective employer be ready to meet the new challenges ahead. Many hiring managers will find your interest and currency on relevant topics in your line of work to be a big plus compared to your peers who are not as up to date as you are!
Keep several versions of your resume handy by creating similar, but not exact duplicate, copies of them! Using your favorite text editor or word processing app, switch some of the keywords in your resume around so that each copy of your resume has a slightly different mix of them. When applying for a job, pick the version that has the most relevant keyword matches to the job listing and submit that version for the hiring manager to review. Some job seekers may argue that it is better to just tailor the keywords on an as-needed basis, but if you have set up the multiple versions of your resume beforehand, you will be able to respond to job openings much quicker than editing resume versions on the fly!
Make sure that ALL of your contact information (address, home phone, mobile line, email address) are up to date. This also applies to your social media accounts such as LinkedIn and Twitter. You do not want to miss that call (or email) from a recruiter or HR manager who wants to bring you in for an interview!
Is your resume spelled correctly? Is it written in clear and concise English? Beware of incorrectly spelled keywords related to your career and job level! If an important keyword has the wrong spelling in your resume, you may never get to the interview stage because of a typo that caused your resume to get filtered out during the candidate screening process before the hiring manager gets to pick the candidates to interview!
Consider having a friend or a trustworthy colleague review your resume to catch errors and to ensure that your resume highlights the best of your professional abilities and experience. Ask them to read the resume as if they were a hiring manager looking to fill a position in a job that you are interested in, and have them rate your resume in terms of how qualified you would be to be hired for that position. Make sure to ask for constructive criticism and to prevent unnecessarily judgmental analysis in order to get the best results (and to keep it friendly). And to make the process even more fun and fair, consider switching roles to return the favor!
What does your resume actually look like? Put on your marketing hat and try to look at your resume as if you were an advertiser promoting your services to prospective employers. This also applies to resumes you would send to a temp agency or a headhunter. Would your resume make the hiring manager or recruiter excited about bringing you in for an interview? The truth is that appearance does matter, and using a clear and easy to read layout, combined with balanced spacing, reasonable margins, and easy to read fonts (we recommend Arial, New Roman, Helvetica, and similar common fonts, but please avoid handwriting-like fonts or unusual fonts) that are not too small will go a long way to keep your resume from getting tossed in the trash can!
Some people may argue that in the age of automated resume scanning, document layout and font are much less of a concern today than in the past, but that is not entirely correct. For one thing, most staffing agencies like ours still read resumes the old-fashioned way. This is why it is important to make sure that you have the proper keywords and matching resume content fit for the job you are applying for, as eventually there will be a point where a real human manager will get to look at your resume (after the automated filtering has been done) so you want them to get the best impression possible. Why shortchange yourself with a bad-looking resume that has great content when you can have the best of both worlds?!
Your job searching strategy should always include several different pathways besides just endlessly submitting resumes to online listings. For starters, talk to people who work in your chosen field or profession, or in the one where you are seeking a job if changing careers. Try to get a sense of what people are looking for in the job candidates applying for open positions similar to the jobs that interest you. Then, broaden your reach by adding in a headhunter or recruiter who specializes in your field, and talk to them about what you have to offer to an employer, as well as your own career interests, and try to establish a relationship with them along the way. Think of the recruiter or staffing agent as your sales representative, and give them as much leverage as possible to help you get interviews at jobs that interest you. After all, if you don't talk with your headhunter or recruiter, how will they know what jobs would best suit your interests and match the needs of their clients (i.e. employers)?!
Brevity with clarity in resumes is important, as the people (hiring managers or HR staff) often have limited time for reading them. However, you still need to write using proper sentence structure in the sections of the resume where you are not just listing off skill sets or areas of experience (such as software used, certifications earned, etc.) in order to show that you are able to think constructively and to communicate complex information to others in a concise and understable way. In the information age that we now live in, many hiring managers prefer candidates who have the ability to parse and convey information in a succinct but useful manner, so think of your resume and cover letter as two key opportunities to show off your skills in those areas!
If your job or profession requires a degree or a certificate, and if the one you have matches the kind required in your line of work, make sure that your resume mentions it in the section that covers your educational background. It is always better to have a degree which is relevant to your profession, but if you have a degree in phlebotomy while you are working in finance, for example, it is still useful to show that degree in your resume as that indicates that you have the ability to learn new skills in diverse subjects and that you can complete significant projects that require long term commitment, which is viewed as a positive sign for hiring managers. However, it is a good idea to ensure that the college or university transcript shows the same graduation date (or the date on which the degree or certificate was conferred), as shown on your resume. It may seem trivial but if your resume shows a different date than what is on the transcript, that could reduce your chances of getting past the resume-screening phase of the hiring process!
Have you tried the services of a resume writing consultant or a professional proofreader? If you have been sending out hundreds of resumes without getting any interviews, it might not be a bad idea to get a second opinion on the quality and content of your resume or CV. This goes beyond mere spell-check work, because the content and relevancy of your resume are essential for landing a job interview. Speaking of relevancy, make sure the resumes you send out contain skills and experience that are actually relevant to the job you are applying for! In other words, resumes that closely match job requirements are the ones that get picked first for further review!
It is commonly accepted knowledge that many people who leave their jobs or are terminated for cause end up in that predicament on Fridays more often than on any other weekday. The conventional wisdom recommends that Monday and Tuesday are the best days to submit job applications to help fill the newly empty job positions but it might actually be a better idea to submit them on Wednesdays or Thursdays instead in order to avoid getting lost in the crowd, so to speak! In other words, time your job application so that you are getting into the job candidate list after the big rush is over, as many people who apply in the initial rush will already have been screened out by the time you apply for the position!
Have you tried staggering your job applications? No we do not mean getting drunk and staggering from job interview to another, but rather to schedule them in a stress-free timeline so that you can represent yourself in the best possible light to the interviewers! This means that you should only schedule one or two interviews per day at the most. If you try to cram more than two interviews into one day, it is no better than trying to cram for an exam at the last moment! Which is better, being stressed-out and in a hurry for your interviews or being stress-free and relaxed to make your next professional career move?!
You may have hear of the term CV, or curriculum vitae, being used instead of the word resume. They are actually similar but different documents, but used interchangeably, and in some industries the CV is the standard document to submit with a job application, rather than a resume. The usage of CVs is much more prevalent outside of the United States, but it has gained traction within the US as well. Traditionally, the CV has been longer than a resume in terms of content, and is not as job-specific as a resume would be. It may be a good idea for you to consider creating two versions of your resume, with the second one taking the form of a CV, especially if your desired employer is a global firm or if your target job involves international travel or areas of responsibility.
Do you send out the same cover letter with every job application? Avoid doing that! Instead keep several pre-made versions handy, with each one containing a job title that you are looking to get. Within each of those variants of the cover letter, tailor the content specifically for that job title. Insert a bracketed phrase like [CompanyName] where you would want to place the name of the employer (for jobs where you know the name of the company) and compose the wording around it so that you can leave it out if the name of the company is not provided in the job listing. You can create other similar bracketed clauses for the variable parts of the cover letter document so that you can quickly substitute the text and thus create one when you find a job that you want to apply for. If you are using a staffing agency or a temporary agency to conduct your job search, they will take care of the cover letter with their own version of it, and it will be customized based on your background and best qualifications for the job.
If you have a friend who is also looking for a job, try sharing your resumes with each other! Then both of you can set aside a half hour to read through your friend's resume and jot down notes about how it can be revised to improve the odds of getting an interview, and share that feedback with each other. Job searching can actually be more fun when you know that a good friend has given you a better shot at getting hired by reviewing your resume beforehand, and the benefit to your careers is mutual. You would be amazed at how much better your chances of finding a job can be with a simple set of resume modifications suggested by a trusted friend!
Does the idea of sending out endless resumes to job ads deter you from getting a move on your career? In that case it would actually be a better strategy to turn to the help of a staffing professional or a headhunter in the beginning of your job search. You will likely receive good feedback about your resume and career path from the recruiter as it is their best interest to present you in the best possible light to prospective employers. You can then use their feedback to refine your resume and adjust your job search strategy accordingly, and you can try sending out updated versions of your resume to job listings on popular job search sites as well. A broadly diversified job search strategy is usually the best way to go for finding your dream job!
Tired of long-term job hunting? Do not give up! Try to mix up your job search time with trying out some new activities like reading about some new subjects you normally do not read about, or taking some new exercise classes, or just walking in the park. The idea is to do something very different from your usual routine. This will help take your mind off the job search which can be a stressful time, and allows you to relax and prepare for the day you get a new job interview. Keeping yourself in balance is important, and there is a good chance that it will actually help you figure out which jobs truly interest you the most!
After you have updated your resume for a new skill or work experience, be sure to send a copy immediately to your recruiter or headhunter! The reason for this is twofold: first, staffing professionals have a vested interest in your success, and they will be the first ones to tell you if there is any problem with the changes you made to your resume (or CV). Secondly, these professionals often have a very large network of connections to hiring managers and will be able to broadcast your updated resume much more effectively than you would be able to on your own! So when you learn a new skill that is relevant to your desired job, use your staffing pros and their diverse connections to spread the word about your updated job qualifications!
Make sure to send extra copies of your resume to friends or colleagues that you can trust. Have them forward your resume to managers who are actively hiring, and be sure to ask them to send their resume to you immediately so you can return the favor! A simple vis-a-vis resume swap with friends and colleagues resulting in distribution to hiring managers or HR personnel can be all it takes for you to find your next career move!
Job searching is an important part of your career - without it you cannot build a successful job track record! Therefore you will need to be organized and keep track of your progress, which will help you determine which job search tactics are working best for you. This can be as simple as using a deck of blank 3 inch by 5 inch index cards! For just a few dollars at a store you can get several sets of blank index cards with different colors each. Each time you apply for a job, write the job title at the top of the card, then below it write the date on which you applied for the job. Then add in the name of the staffing agency or the name of the website where you found the job listing. If your index cards come in multiple colors, you can use the card color to indicate the version of the resume that you sent to the recruiter for that job (otherwise you would need to write down the version number or name of the resume file that you sent to them). Then, once you hear back from the recruiter, write the date on which they responded to you and also the number of days it took for them to reply to you in parentheses after the date. If they ask you to come to an interview, write that date on the card also, and the number of days from your initial submission inside parentheses. Do this for every job you apply to on a new index card. You can also do the same thing within a spreadsheet file on your computer, with each row representing a different job position that you apply to, and placing the event dates in columns across the spreadsheet and use a datediff function to count the days between them and then sort the list according to the day counts by resume version. After a while you will be able to see which versions of your resume get the fastest responses from hiring managers, and then you can use that knowledge to speed up your job search!
We recommend that you use a three-sided approach to job searching which consists of: networking, using a headhunter or a staffing agency, and responding to job listings online. Since a large a percentage of jobs are filled through contacts between people who know each other, we advocate that at least one third of your job searching should be done via traditional networking techniques. Furthermore, the next one-third of your job search time should be delegated to a headhunter or a staffing agent for the same reason! Once you have spent two-thirds of your job search time to utilize those two methods, then you can proceed to post your resume to as many job listings as you think you would be a good fit for to make up the last one-third of your job search strategy. This three-fold tactic, along with a little tenacity and perseverance, will give you the best chance to succeed in your job search!
Treat your job search with the care and attention it deserves! The process of looking for a new job is stressful enough as is, but with a little organizing and strategy on your part it can be a lot easier to manage. Divide your time so that you do not risk job-search burnout by splitting the tasks that a job search entails - for example schedule your job listing search on the web for a few hours on Mondays and Thursdays. Bookmark the jobs that interest you and make a note in your job search journal (use a notebook or a Word document on the computer). Follow up on those bookmarked jobs by making calls or contacting your headhunter on Tuesdays and Fridays, and then go to interviews on Wednesdays. Feel free to use another similar schedule if you prefer, but the idea is to partition out your tasks, and to reduce your stress go to job interviews on days that you do not have any other job search tasks to do. By treating your job search as a longer-term project with small repeatable tasks on different days, you will find it much easier to keep it all together while making your next career move!
Many career advisors, as well as surveys of job-seekers, indicate that a typical job search can take anywhere from three to six months, and in some cases much longer. Therefore you need to treat your job search as a long-term project, and to organize and plan it accordingly! In the beginning of your job search write down all the different job titles you might be interested in. Include job titles similar to your previous job as a safety net, but also do not be afraid to include some nice-to-have jobs. Revise and edit the list over the course of a few days, and then make a polished copy of it on your computer with your favorite word processing or spreadsheet application. Then, use that list as your copy-and-paste source for running online job listing searches once or twice a week, and also send a copy to your headhunter or staffing specialist. Use the list to continously manage your job search, and take notes of the number of interviews you get for each of the job titles and note your successes and failures in each. Then modify your job search tactics each month based on your results, and keep your headhunter up to date also and let him or her act on your behalf to help you find the job you want. By the second or third month you should start to see a much better ratio of job interviews versus job applications. Using an adaptive job search strategy will almost surely have you honing in on the exact jobs you want by the time you reach the six month mark or hopefully even sooner!
Job searching is like growing a plant - keep watering it regularly and it will blossom! What does that mean for the job seeker? The answer is that job searching is a continuous process that needs to be regularly attended to over a period of time. The analogy of watering plants applies to job searching very well because you need to be able to adapt and adjust your job searching strategy by doing it regularly so that you can see what works for you and what does not. Certain job search strategies will not be as effective as others depending on your career choice and level of experience. If you are new to your career field, networking with former colleagues will not work well because your network is not large enough yet. In such cases you might want to turn to the assistance that a staffing agent or a headhunter can provide. For more experienced workers, job search techniques need to take a more holistic approach, with a mix of personal networking efforts combined with a carefully crafted job matching plan created by your favorite staffing professional. The key to job search success is to keep at it and not to give up until you get the job offer you want!
How many versions of your resume (CV) do you have? If you have just one version, it may hurt your chances of getting the job you want! Why have more than one version of your CV? Try keeping three versions of your resume, each one with a slightly different set of keywords related to your career or profession. However, be sure that your CV contains only accurate information, and make sure that it is a truthful depiction of your career history. Switching around keywords is OK as long as the essence of your CV remains the same. When you find a job listing that interests you, look at the key words in the job description, and then pick the version of your CV that is the closest match and send it in to the recruiter or to your staffing agency that posted the job. By matching your CV version to the requirements of the job opening, you have significantly increased your chances of getting to the next stage of the job hunt, i.e. the interview!
Have you tried using an alternating schedule for conducting your job search? Rather than trying to limit your job search to the same exact time and weekday in your weekly routine, you should try using a variable job search timetable instead, as you may see better results at a different time of day than usual. Consider the fact that some companies may post new job listings on certain weekdays or within a specific time window, and also the fact that other companies post them immediately as soon as they come up. If you limit yourself to a rigid job hunting schedule, you might miss out on an exciting job opening because it was published at a time when you were not looking! Try using a staggered schedule to browse job listings, and not only will you be able to catch new openings that you would have missed otherwise, but you will also find your new schedule to be a refreshing change of pace! After all, why should looking for a job be a dreadful task filled with monotony?! When you find job searching itself more fun and refreshing, you are more likely to present a more enthusiastic side of yourself in your next interview which could be just the ticket to landing your next dream job!
Do not give up your job search even during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic! It is essential to your health and sense of well-being to keep active in different ways while maintaining social distancing best practices, and your job search efforts should not be an exception! Keep sending out resumes, apply for jobs online, and get a webcam or video camera so that you can do online job interviews or a video showcasing your accomplishments. By keeping your job search strategy alive and well, despite the scary job market, you will feel better yourself and your loved ones will be happy to see you keeping your spirit going. Never give up on your job search! Broaden the net you can cast by reaching out to staffing agencies like ours and talk to headhunters, as they know what jobs are hot now. The job market may be hurting, but employers do need the help and will want to hire people who are ready and willing to get the job done.