Have you sent out numerous resumes only to hear nothing back? Despite the hours you are putting in to your job search you may be missing a few key points that are interfering with your success.
Your resume and cover letter are starters.
Although you may think that the online job search has made finding a new position an easier endeavor, not so fast! There are far more roadblocks and competitive factors to consider. Blanketing the job postings with your resume will bring limited success and ultimately hinder your job search. Consider looking at positions as if you were shopping and only apply to the jobs that truly fit you. Spending the time to sort through the jobs will allow you to focus your energy on crafting a resume that truly fits the position that is right for you. Try imagining a weary eyed employer reviewing dozens of resumes for his recently posted position. Realize that you’ve got about 30 seconds to impress this employer and convince him that you are right for the job. A well-tailored resume will focus on the skills and experiences you have that relate directly to the job you are applying for.
Don’t forget to send a cover letter. Crafting a cover letter for every position you apply to can help set you apart from the other applicants. Your cover letter is the perfect opportunity to further detail your experience and desire to be considered for a particular position. A strong cover letter shows that you’ve done your research and have a clear understanding of the position and the company you hope to work for. It’s also a good idea to highlight the specific skills you have and how your experiences will benefit the organization. Although it takes time to craft a strong resume and cover letter, it is time well spent.
Typos can be your downfall.
Although spell-check may be your best friend it is important to remember that the computer cannot check for all errors. A simple spelling, grammar, or worse yet forgetting to omit the name of a previous employer you have applied to, can ruin even the most perfect application. Many employers will admit that a typo on a resume or cover letter will make them question your attention to detail and professionalism and that can ultimately undermine all of the qualifications and experience you do present.
Do not keep your job search a secret.
Use your contacts and connections to help your search. The people you already know may be one of the best sources for new job opportunities and new professional contacts. By mentioning your interest in a particular field or industry you can extend your job search from your small network to having 10 more contacts searching out positions for you. The bigger your network, the more opportunities you will learn about. However, keep in mind that if you are currently employed it is a good idea to keep your job search private from work colleagues and supervisors.
If you are currently employed it is important that you resist the temptation to search for new jobs while on the clock. Many companies monitor employee Internet usage and searching for a job while at work may put your current position at risk. Dedicate time outside of work hours to locate new opportunities, revise your resume, and connect with new contacts.
Applying for a new job doesn’t end when you click “submit.” Put yourself ahead of the competition by following-through and getting in touch with the employer. Unless the job posting says “no calls” it is in your best interest to follow-up 10 days after you submit your application. In addition, once you go in for an interview, it is also important to follow-up afterwards. At the end of the interview, ask the employer for their card. With this information send a hand-written thank you note to show your interest in the position. This letter should be professional, should thank them for their time and pinpoint something specific about your interview. This is the perfect time and place to highlight your skills and interest in the position. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to rise above the rest.
Fear and worry will definitely undermine your job search. Becoming anxious can hinder your ability to put your best foot forward. Remain positive and focused on what you want and what you know that you can do. Resist the tendency to come up with negative “what if” scenarios. The best job search is a proactive and positive one. Think about all that you have to offer and then seek out companies that recognize your skills. Your job search should become an opportunity for you to showcase your skills and experience. Be patient and remain positive and job search success will surely come your way.
Katrina Davy, MA, Ed.M, is a career counselor who has worked with universities and private clients. She holds a double master’s degree from Columbia University. Send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.