Ways to Rethink Your Job Search

Date: July 12, 2016

When it comes to job hunting, we all know the usual routine: Polish your resume, fill out several dozen applications and wait for the email to arrive or the phone to ring. In reality, this seldom works. Only about 2 percent of all job applicants ever get that phone call for a first interview — and for good reason. When hundreds of people are applying for the same job, the odds are stacked against you from the start. Here are five ways to rethink job search techniques that can drastically improve your chances of getting those calls.

 

Get the Word Out

Just as you're more likely to buy a product recommended by a friend, employers are more likely to interview job candidates who have been referred by those they trust. A study conducted by Jobvite, the Recruiter Nation Survey 2015, showed that 78 percent of recruiters find their best candidates by referrals from current employees. So tell your friends, family and former coworkers that you're job hunting and ask them if they know anyone who is hiring. If you've begun to lose touch with friends who have business connections, this is the perfect time to reconnect over coffee.

 

Create a LinkedIn Account

Don't confine your networking to your Facebook friends. More than 90 percent of job recruiters use LinkedIn as their preferred social networking site, according to a 2014 survey conducted by Jobvite. However, only a third of job seekers had created LinkedIn accounts. 

Creating a LinkedIn account is free, and there are options to search your Facebook friends and your email address book to connect with people you know. Make sure that you upload a work-appropriate photo and include a current resume.

 

Don't Apply for Every Job You See

Before applying for a job, read the requirements carefully to make sure you qualify for it. If you lack essential skills, you're better off sending your resume somewhere else. At best, the employer will simply ignore your application. But at worst, some employers actually blacklist candidates who apply for positions they aren't qualified for, meaning they won't look at your application again when they post for a job that suits you perfectly.

 

Customize Your Resume

When it comes to resumes, one size does not fit all. Compare the information in your resume to the specific requirements of each position you're applying for. Make sure your most relevant skills and experience are prominently displayed — preferably near the top of the first page. 

Adjust the wording in your resume to mirror the posted requirements wherever appropriate. For example, if you're applying for a customer service position that requires experience in Microsoft Excel, consider using the actual words "customer service" and "Microsoft Excel" to describe your most recent position, instead of saying "service desk with experience in Microsoft Office."

 

Let Employers See You Shine

Employers seldom want to hire someone who is just going to punch in, punch out, and do the bare minimum in between. Instead of focusing only on your skills and duties, use your resume as an opportunity to show potential employers your achievements. If you helped your last employer solve a major management problem or to increase sales, mention those accomplishments on your resume. If you were chosen as Employee of the Month for six months in a row, mention that, too.

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