As the U.S. job market nears full employment, many job seekers are scratching their heads wondering why their own efforts are not generating numerous interviews and desired employment offers. After all, with the official jobless rate at a 9-year low, now should be one of the best times to begin a job search.
An entire book could be written (and many have been) about the reason job seekers continue to struggle despite today’s favorable conditions, but one explanation is the fact that job hunters have not kept up with changes to the application and candidate screening process. While it is true that finding entry-level or low-paying positions seem to be easier, employers are still leery of hiring top-talent without thoroughly vetting candidates, and those that are unaware of current techniques find themselves with few (if any) responses from recruiters and hiring managers.
As a professional résumé writer, I conduct many consultations with potential clients.
Three questions I often ask are:
- “How many jobs are you applying to (on average) in a week?”
- “How long have you been seeking a new position?”
- “How many interviews are you generating as compared to the number of positions for which you apply?”
As you might guess, the answers to these questions vary, but recent averages look like this:
- 6 jobs applied to per week, average job seeking time of (approximately) 11 weeks, and 1 interview for every 19 jobs to which the candidate applied.
In other words, a great deal of time and effort spent with little to show for it. I am not a big user of emoji, but if I were, this would call for a frowny face.
Whether you are an up-and-coming young professional or a well-seasoned senior executive, there are 3 relatively simple changes you can make to dramatically increase the amount of quality interviews to which you are invited:
1. Rewrite Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile.
Okay, so I admit that as a resume writer I am somewhat biased in recommending this step. However, the well-respected experts over at LADDERS seem to agree, along with thousands of other executive career coaches, recruiters, vocational counselors, thought leaders, and influencers within the field. When creating yours (or having an expert write it for you), keep in mind the acronym CADETS – Compliant (to the platforms through which you apply); Achievement-oriented; Direct (don’t make the reader work to understand your content); Eye-catching (well-formatted); Target-focused (write for your audience); and Scintillating (an overall attractive and compelling career narrative). For assistance, check out well-respected organizations such as the National Résumé Writers’ Association (NRWA) or other professional groups to find the best writer for your individual needs.
2. Update Your Application Strategy.
A general consensus among industry professionals appears to be that a job seeking strategy consisting of online applications alone are a waste of time. I agree that trusting one’s professional future solely to computerized algorithms is a flawed approach, and that (depending on field and career level) this component should only take up approximately 15%-25% of one’s application efforts. Successfully making contact with an employer often involves much more than an application and resume upload alone. Coordinating the timing of your research, application, multifaceted outreach, and follow-up is crucial, and job seekers who skillfully employ each of these elements significantly increase returns in terms of interviews (and employment offers).
3. Network Like Your Professional Life Depended On It (it does).
Advances in professional networking have come a long way recently, and new platforms allow even the most introverted among us to successfully perform outreach to hiring managers and recruiters. I generally recommend a healthy mix of real world (face-to-face) networking events and an intensive professional networking campaign using platforms such as LinkedIn. Participation in such activities allow individuals to bypass competition and formal (often time-consuming) channels, and make a direct and positive impact. In fact, in 2016, just shy of 25% of my clients were directly recruited for new positions through LinkedIn alone. A well-polished profile, frequent (meaningful) activity, network expansion, and targeted outreach all play a big part in being noticed on such platforms.
If you haven’t updated your job search strategy lately, or if you are unhappy with the results you have been generating, perhaps it is time to revamp and upgrade your approach.
Thanks for reading and I wish you all happiness and prosperity in 2017!
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About the Author:
Adam Zajac, NCRW is Head Résumé and LinkedIn Profile Writer and Executive Recruitment Strategist for Vocamotive, Inc. He is 1 of only 54 Nationally Certified Résumé Writers in North America and is an expert career development professional with 12 years of industry experience. As a proud member of the National Résumé Writers’ Association and leader of the career development team at Vocamotive, he has successfully assisted thousands of job seekers, career changers, and business executives achieve their professional goals throughout the United States and around the globe.
Follow Adam on LinkedIn at: www.linkedin.com/in/adamzajac
Contact Adam via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org