Applying for jobs and not getting to the interview stage? Consider these application pitfalls!
Applying for new jobs can be frustrating - especially during the current economic crisis.
Simply put, the job market is much more competitive, as there are multiple qualified candidates for a limited number of open roles.
An element of your application that might otherwise be overlooked in a promising job market can be just the thing that is now holding you back.
As a result, it's critical that you pay attention to the minor details.
If you have been consistently applying for jobs but are failing to secure interviews, consider whether you are making any of the following job search mistakes.
1) Your resume is not optimized for ATS
Studies show that 99.8% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to manage their recruiting process and help prescreen resumes.
Companies often get hundreds of applications for a single position.
As a result, recruiters use ATS systems to save time and automatically filter out irrelevant resumes.
If you are applying for jobs through online portals and your resume is not optimized for ATS, it could be getting filtered out by the system and never even be seen by a human.
Careless mistakes on a resume or cover letter are one of the top reasons applicants get rejected.
When recruiters receive hundreds of applications for a position, there will likely be more than one candidate who is suitable for the role.
Any error or inconsistency signals carelessness and poor attention to detail, which may be a red flag - especially when there are plenty of other candidates to choose from.
3) Your resume does not match the job description
Your resume should be tailored to the job you are applying for and incorporate relevant keywords and skills noted on the job description accordingly.
If your experience is primarily in finance but you are applying for a marketing role, a recruiter may wonder why.
In this case, you need to make sure that you are highlighting any marketing experience you do have.
In other words, explicitly connect the dots for the recruiters. Don't leave them to figure out how your experience will make you successful in your target role.
4) You aren't applying strategically
Research shows that less than 1% of applicants who apply through online portals actually get the job.
On the other hand, over 30% of applicants who apply through internal hiring managers get hired.
Statistics show that you're significantly more likely to get hired through a hiring manager, recruiter, or referral than you are by applying through a career site or job board.
Are you sending out your resume to as many jobs or possible, or are you carefully tailoring your resume to fewer roles that you realistically have a chance at securing an interview for?
By changing your application strategy, tapping into your professional networks, and leveraging your LinkedIn profile, you'll maximize your odds of landing interviews.
5) You do not have the minimum qualifications or skills required
A recruiter's job is to find the right person for the role based on the information provided in the job description.
On most job descriptions, you'll see required and preferred qualifications. These are intended to make the life of both applicants and recruiters easier by outlining exactly what is expected.
If a job description lists the CPA qualification as a requirement and you don’t have it, you'll more than likely get rejected (though it can never hurt to try!).
Needless to say, you should make sure that the skills and qualifications you do have are present on your resume.
6) You do not have the relevant prior experience
Most senior roles require applicants to have held a minimum number of years of relevant work experience in order to be considered.
While these are more often a guideline than a strict requirement, it's probably not realistic to apply for a VP role if you have only reached the Senior Analyst level at your previous position.
If you are looking to pivot sectors, you may even consider a lateral move or step down.
If you’re putting effort into applying for jobs but having trouble making it to the interview stage, don’t be discouraged.
The hiring market is tough right now, so a bit of a challenge is to be expected.
However, by considering the potential pitfalls above, you’ll improve your job applications and be more successful in the hiring process.
- How to Position Yourself for Success in Uncertain Times
- Resume Pilots' Client Reviews (2020)
- What Recruiters Expect in an Executive Resume
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