Updated: Feb 13, 2021
A First impression:
When memorable, will immediately land you in the top 10 candidate pool. When unmemorable or negative, will result in a swift kick to the curb.
Take it from someone who has been both a hiring manager and a candidate; the first point of contact between you and a company can often be your only chance to shine. What is your first point of contact?
A scenario we can all identify with: You just spent an hour or two scrolling tirelessly on Linkedin. You have 55 tabs open for roles with the job title you seek. You're so tired and frustrated by the process that you're just mindlessly applying to these roles with the same 1 or 2 resumes every time. You have one cover letter that you (maybe) tailor for the roles you're really passionate about, but for the most part you're nearing your final specks of hope. You have seen your resume so many times that you almost assume everyone's seen it at this point. What's worse, out of the 100 applications you just submitted you're confident you'll only get 1, maybe 2), emails back (if that). This you?
If this is you, PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE! I've never been offered a job when I approached the process negatively (cliché, but true). Sometimes, believing in yourself is key.
Anyways, enough of the pep talk. 😉 Here are 5 actionable tips that will get you approaching job applications more proactively & efficiently so your resume has a better chance of being viewed!
1. Have Stellar Resume & Cover Letter Templates
Your resume and cover letter are your first, (& sometimes only), connection to hiring managers. Make. It. Count. I like to have 2 strong, differing versions of each since the range of roles I apply for can sometimes be wide. If you find yourself only looking at one kind of role or title (a bit limiting, but I'll let it go), then 2 strong version of each is fine! You can read about the key components of a strong resume here.
2. Tailor Your Resume & Cover Letter For Every Application
I cannot stress this enough: Every application should be specifically tailored to each role. The most effective way to do this is to use key words from the job description in your resume. The algorithm will push your resume up to the top if there are enough similarities to the JD. (Shameless plug: I offer this tedious service for my clients.)
🍎 Example: If a job description uses words like, "recruiting", "employee engagement", "Justworks", "budgeting"... You want your resume to include these same words as much as possible!
3. Broaden Your Options
Sending out hundreds of applications with no replies? Why not consider working with a recruiter instead of applying online? Recruiters advocate on your behalf directly with companies so it cuts out the noise of filtering through hundreds of applications. Recruiters cost nothing out of your pocket & they don't get paid their bonus unless you're placed. It's a win/win! Also, perhaps consider applying outside of the box. If you're set on one specific title or company, it can be limiting in the long-run. Sometimes the same job can be represented in 5 different titles- do your research!
4. Don't Be Afraid To Follow Up
Take initiative, people! Companies love that! If there are a handful of jobs you really love, why not find the emails or Linkedins of the recruiting managers and send them follow-ups? Recruiters are people, too & sometimes you just need to convince people why they should root for you. Depending on your approach, you could be plucked out of the "no" pile and put into the "maybe" pile. What's the worst that can happen; they don't respond? (We're pros at that anyway- no shade!)
5. Be Patient
Pre-Covid it took anywhere from 3-6 months to start getting serious hits for those "dream jobs". Now it can take 6+ months for a meaningful hit. See: Covid catapulted the job market into a black hole.
The message here is not just to "be patient" but more so to plan for this time frame. Just like anything else in life, things take time and drastic changes require patience and planning. If 6 months is not an option for you, consider finding a flexible side hustle to supplement the waiting period. If you're in a role already, don't jump ship until you have a solid fallback!
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