Author’s note: Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of London CV writing service StandOut CV.
Job hunting can be a frustrating and stressful experience, especially when you are not seeing the results you want. Applying for tons of jobs online and hearing nothing back is enough to break even the most confident of job hunters' spirits.
So how do you turn your fortunes around when you're stuck in a job search rut?
By using the following steps, you can turn your job hunt around and quickly start landing interviews and job offers.
Re-assess your resume
Your resume is your number one marketing tool in the job search game and it's all employers have to make an initial judgement on you. If your resume isn't making the right impression, then making a few adjustments can really turn your luck around. Take an in-depth look at your resume and ask yourself the following questions.
Does your resume match the job description you're applying for?
Take a look at the last 5 or 10 jobs you applied to and make a list of the most important candidate requirements that appear over and over again. They may include customer service, complaint handling, responding to telephone inquiries, etc.
Now look at your resume and check the following;
- Are you mentioning the essential requirements on your resume? (If not, you need to add them.)
- Are you making them prominent enough on your resume?
When an employer reads your resume, they want to instantly see that you have what it takes to do the job, so make it abundantly obvious to them by highlighting the skills and experience that they find most important. Don't hide your most in-demand abilities at the bottom of your resume; sell yourself with a punchy profile that includes all of the most popular requirements from the jobs you've been applying for.
Is your resume easy to read?
Hiring managers are extremely busy people and they often don't have the time to wade through big chunks of text to pick out the info that they need from a resume. Make sure that there are no typos and your resume is formatted properly with a simple font, clearly divided sections, short paragraphs and bullet points like the example below.
This type of formatting will make it easy for employers to skim read your resume and quickly find the skills they are looking for. Once you've improved your resume's content and formatting, you should start to see a big improvement in your response rates.
Introduce yourself properly
When you're applying to numerous jobs in one sitting, it can be easy to get a bit sloppy with your cover letters or not even include a CV at all. A cover letter is a good opportunity to prove you’ll go the extra mile and entice the hiring manager to review your resume. It shows that you are professional as well as a good fit.
Address them by name - Recruiters are people too, so if you can find their name on the job posting or the company website, be sure to include it to start building a relationship.
State what you can offer; not what you want - A lot of candidates make the mistake of writing too much about their needs such as preferred wage and other demands. Employers are more interested in what you have to offer them in the first instance, so focus on showing them the value you can bring to the organization. A brief summary of how your skills and knowledge could benefit them will always spark their interest.
Follow up with non-responders - If you don't get a response from a job application in the first few days, don't panic. Send the hiring manager a quick follow-up email or call to ask if they've had the time to look at your resume. They may have just missed your resume or not yet got around to reading it, so a gentle reminder can draw attention to your application and also shows that you are determined.
Try some different search terms
Industry language is constantly changing, which means that there can often be lots of different terms to describe one type of job.
For example a sales assistant could easily be called a customer service representative or even a store clerk, so be creative and use a few different job titles in your job searches to increase the number of suitable openings you find. If you struggle to find variations of your preferred job title; do some online research on industry websites, blogs and LinkedIn to find out what the latest job titles are in your field.
If you're struggling with your current job search, try applying some of the tactics above to improve your first impression on employers and start boosting your interview requests. Remember that job hunting can sometimes be tough, but stay motivated and positive.