You’ve been looking for a job and sending out applications, but you haven’t received any responses. You are beginning to wonder if the employers are even seeing your resume, and you’ve already checked to make sure that your phone is still working. Before you get too frustrated, take a look at these common mistakes made by job seekers, and see if they help explain why you aren’t getting any interviews.
Your resume is too general. Resumes that make general claims, such as “hardworking, excellent interpersonal skills, or detail oriented” are not impressive. Instead, include specific and quantitative accomplishments that demonstrate those attributes, such as, “reorganized the filing system in a way that saved eight staff hours per month”.
Your resume is not customized for each particular position. It is obvious when you are sending out the exact same resume to fifty different employers. This is not an effective approach because when the employer reads it, they get the message that you don’t understand their specific needs. Take the time with each resume to show the employer that you are uniquely qualified for the position. You won’t be able to submit as many applications, but you will have a much higher response rate.
You are not sending out enough applications. How many applications are you actually sending out? If you are not working, you should be aiming for at least 40 applications per week. If you currently have a job, 25 applications a week is more realistic. Remember, it takes an average of 50 applications to receive 2.5 job interviews.
Your only job search strategy is responding to online job postings. What strategy are you using to look for a job? If you limit your job search to online advertisements, you face the maximum level of competition, which makes it that much more difficult for you to stand out. Try to spend more time networking, where you may be able to learn about job opportunities before they are even advertised.
Your skills and experience aren’t strong enough. While you may be doing all the right things in your job search, if your competition is stronger, then you won’t get an interview. Take a close look at the job advertisement and make sure that you have all of the required skills.
There is a problem with your resume. Even if your skills are strong, and you are working hard on your job search, a problem with your resume could cancel out all of your efforts. It is painful to think that a few spelling mistakes could be costing you interviews, but it is possible. Be sure to have someone proofread your resume before you submit it.
It is so frustrating when you submit countless applications but your phone still doesn’t ring. Hang in there; it is all a part of the process. If you make the necessary tweaks to your job search strategy, it is only a matter of time before will you get that interview.
(Written by Karen Bivand)