You recently applied for some roles that you really felt matched your experience and skill set and …. would you believe it… no phone call for an interview. Not even a response. What happened?
We have all been in this situation before and it isn’t fun. I remember when I landed on the Gold Coast in 2001. I had a ‘job’ but not in the industry I had studied and was trying to get into, which was HR and/or recruitment. I applied for in excess of 80 specific HR/recruitment jobs over a 9 month period, with not even a response from almost all but 3 employers. It made me feel really deflated and like I was doing something wrong. During that time I realised that I was not selling myself well enough and worked out a few new strategies to start getting noticed
How do you get noticed?
There are plenty of ways to get noticed, some good, some bad. We don’t expect you to hang outside the employer’s office and stalk them – you will get noticed this way but it really won’t end well. We do believe though that you should have a good strategy in place and carefully prepared tools to sell who you are and how you fit when applying for an advertised role. What we mean by this is:
- A carefully prepared resume or CV (we have written about this in previous Blogs) that sells what your skills are, where you have worked and when, training and/or qualifications and your contact details… yes, contact details! We mention this as some people actually forget to put this on their resume!
- A cover letter outlining your suitability to the role and your intentions. We often get cover letters that basically just say “I am applying for the ….. job”. That just won’t cut it! Outline What you have been doing, why you are interested in the role and what relevant skills and experience (read the job advertisement) you have that meet their criteria
- Interview clothes and shoes – have some clothes and shoes prepared for interview. We always have clothes ready to wear when going out on the weekend but how many people have a set of clothes put aside ready for an interview? They should be appropriate for the type of roles that you are applying for
- Keeping a diary or spreadsheet of applications submitted. The best call that I made to a candidate (and she got an interview with me that day) was a young girl who had a spreadsheet of all the jobs that she applied for. I called her and she actually answered my very first call with “Hello David” rather than the usual “What job is this for… I have applied for quite a few” She really stood out! It showed that she was prepared and took her job searching seriously
- Do some research on the company – We don’t have to say much more on this one. If you do some research you will be better prepared – you may even be asked by an interviewer what you already know about them – stand out by actually knowing about them and being able to relay this information. Going through a recruiter you may not be privy to this information just yet. In that case, find out what you can about the role and the industry that it’s in to see how you may fit.
Where to from here?
At the end of the day you may still put in this work and not get selected – the role is advertised in a way to outline job requirements and the needs of the employer. There are other factors that will always make up the rest of the job specification, and in the employer’s or recruiter’s eyes, you just may not fit. On the bright side though, if you do make an effort to put the above strategies into place and prepare great applications, you may see your strike rate increase significantly in a very competitive job market.