A post by Patra Frame, ClearedJobs.Net’s HR Strategist
Job search is a difficult process for most of us. Applications disappear into black holes, a great opportunity looms but you cannot get a response, an interview goes well but months later a rejection letter arrives. In recent years these problems and many others have been aggravated by cuts in companies’ HR staff and by hiring managers who want a ‘perfect’ match to their dreams.
But you need to find a job. And to make it through the stumbling blocks to success.
Problem 1: You are sending out resumes but not getting any response.
When this happens, you need to look at two issues: your targets and your resume.
* If you are targeting jobs where you do not meet at least 85% of the qualifications, you are not going to be considered.
* If you meet the qualifications, your resume is the issue. Does it clearly show your achievements as they relate to the job you want? Is it focused and concise? Does it use the right keywords for the job? Get an outside opinion! Ask a previous mentor or great boss to review your resume. Tell them to be totally honest so that you can improve it. Once you have their ideas and have incorporated the best ones, check your network for a contact in your field who is a hiring manager and ask that person for additional suggestions.
Problem 2: You are getting contacted but not in-person interviews.
Here the issues usually are your phone and email manners. When you are being screened by a potential employer, you need to demonstrate that you are interested in, and a good potential match for, the position. Set up the calls when you can talk. Check your research first. If a recruiter calls and you cannot talk easily, ask for a callback later in the day when you will be able to talk. Remember that the emails you exchange and any other contacts you have are all a part of the interviewing process. Be business-like and professional in all!
Need some help? If you already know a good recruiter, ask that person to do a mock phone interview and give you feedback. If not, check your network for HR people you have worked with in the past and ask for their help.
Problem 3. You are getting interviews but no offers.
First, you have to interview a fair number of times to get even one offer in most fields. But when this becomes a pattern, it usually means you are not interviewing effectively.
Are you preparing for the interview so that you can talk about your achievements and record of success clearly and in terms the organization uses? Do you ask good questions about the role and organization?
Few organizations will provide any feedback to applicants for fear of legal risks. But you can take classes in effective interviewing from your state’s Employment Services local office as well as many professional and community based organizations’s career programs. You can ask a manager you know to do a mock interview with you and identify any issues. Or hire a coach who specializes in career and job search. See also the many ClearedJobs.Net videos on interviewing and what companies are seeking in candidates.