If you’re applying for jobs but not getting interviews, it’s discouraging and stressful. But there are things you can do to improve your odds.
Besides being a nationally certified professional resume writer, I’ve been an executive recruiter for 3 decades. Based on my experiences, I offer these 9 suggestions to help you power your way to getting an interview:
Define what you’re looking for.
The obvious way to do it is by existing job titles. Brainstorm all possible variations of those titles when you do searches (“software engineer” OR “software developer” OR “programmer”), for example. But if you’re not getting interviews for those kinds of roles, a broader approach is to consider work activities that you like doing and are good at, and then ask yourself if there are additional job roles where that talent could make you a good candidate? Are you skilled at presenting to a group? Explaining technical concepts to laypeople? Verifying the accuracy of financial data?
Put consistent effort into your job search.
Better to do 15 minutes, EVERY. DAY. WITHOUT. FAIL. than a marathon session every now and then. More is preferable, of course. But if you’re applying for jobs but not getting interviews, your psyche and self-image are probably hurting already. Don’t create even more negative feelings by failing to maintain an overly ambitious goal. Start small, build consistency, then expand it. Focus on the activity, not so much on the results.
Organize your search activities
Use a notebook, online journal, or really whatever way works for you. You’ll want to have all your information easily available in one place, avoid duplication, and make following up easier. Also, the last part of each day’s session should be devoted to planning what you’ll do tomorrow. The plan may be no more detailed than a general sketching-out of what you’ll focus on (“I’ll search Indeed for software engineer jobs within 10 miles of my house,” or “I’ll send LinkedIn connection requests to everyone I can find who worked with me back at Franistan Company.”) But you want to get off to a fast start the next day, not be sitting there wondering what you should do.
Update your resume and your LinkedIn profile.
Before you start submitting applications, make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are current and detailed. Of course, you can hire a professional resume writer like me to create something very effective. But you don’t have to hire a professional. Lots of do-it-yourself resources and books out there. I’ve written other articles that may help you make a good resume on your own. Check out this one and this one to get started.
Use LinkedIn to expand your connections.
Where have your worked? Where have you gone to school? What other groups are you part of? Make sure you are connected on LinkedIn to all the people you may know from these communities. When sending a connect request, add a short personal note, reminding them how you know each other if you’re not 100% sure they’ll remember. However, avoid making an aggressive job-search pitch if you’re just reconnecting with someone from the past. It’s OK to let them know you’re looking, but leave it at that. The more people you’re connected with, the more interesting things (job leads) will come up in your feed. Strive to have a minimum of 500 connections if you’re not already there.
Don’t make “applying to jobs” the only tool in your toolbox.
Applying to jobs is fine, and you should be doing this. If you’re applying for jobs but not getting interviews, think more broadly. Don’t limit yourself to the subset of “jobs that are posted online”. What companies are you interested in working for? Introduce yourself to decision-makers at those companies and tell them what you have to offer their firm. Who are your best connections in general, and do these people know you’re looking for work? Make sure they’re aware of what kinds of positions you’re looking for.
Make sure your resume isn’t rejected by applicant-tracking systems (ATS).
Look at 3-5 advertised job descriptions for the kinds of roles you’re going for (doesn’t matter if you’re actually going to apply to that particular one). Read through them carefully and try to identify keywords and key phrases that come up multiple times. Are those things emphasized in your resume? And not just in a skills list, but in context of the descriptions of your career?
Use any feedback that you get.
These days, unfortunately, expect that many of your applications will simply fall into a black hole and you won’t get a response. Following up once is good, but don’t be a pest. Move on. If and when you do get feedback, see if there’s anything you can learn and apply to your future efforts to make yourself a more attractive candidate.
Self-care is important.
If you’re not getting interviews, you’re possibly going to feel stressed, embarrassed, and discouraged. Make sure to take a little time every day to take care of yourself in at least a minimal way: physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Phil Hurd is a Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert (NCOPE). He specializes in creating resumes, LinkedIn profiles, biographies, and cover letters for executives and individual contributors in all functions in technology-oriented industries.
If you need knowledgeable and experienced help developing your own personal marketing documents, please book a free consultation call to discuss your project with Phil by clicking this link: https://catalystresumes.as.me/20minuteconsult