Talent shortages get a lot of press these days, but we should not forget that, despite all the talk about dwindling numbers of candidates, there are still plenty of job seekers out there who find it hard to get interviews.
It’s well documented that unemployed applicants find it much harder to get jobs than their employed counterparts do. It can also be a struggle for people returning from extended career breaks. Meanwhile, ageism is making it hard for older workers to get interviews, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, many first-time job seekers face similar problems.
To help these embattled applicants break down the walls that are keeping them out of the interview room, I’d like to offer the five following tips:
1. Build Your Social Media Presence
Some of you may rail against this piece of advice, but the fact is that social media is – or will soon be – the No. 1 candidate research tool for recruiters. We’re now at the point that employers discriminate against those applicants who don’t have social media profiles: according to CareerBuilder, 35 percent of employers are less likely to interview applicants whom they can’t find online.
So, it’s official: If you don’t have a social media presence, you are hindering your own job search.
2. Lower Your Sights a Little
Take a look at all the roles you’ve applied to. Are you truly qualified for all of them?
It’s a good idea to stretch yourself and apply for roles just outside your comfort zone, but you do need to be realistic. Excepting certain extenuating circumstances, applying for jobs well beyond your reach is a very flawed strategy, because the competition will always be more qualified than you.
If, after taking an honest look at your applications, you realize that you are aiming too high, then it’s time to reorient yourself. Start applying to jobs that you are more clearly suitable for.
3. Be More Selective
If you are not getting interviews, it’s worth looking at how you are selecting the jobs to which you apply.
When you’re desperate, it’s tempting to hurriedly apply for as many jobs as possible. This approach fails on two fronts. First, it causes you to spend a lot of time on applications with exceedingly low chances of succeeding. Second, it often means that you’re not spending as much time as you should on the applications that may actually help you land a job.
If you’re struggling to get interviews, you might want to get more selective about which jobs you decide to apply to.
4. Tailor Your Applications
Are you already highly selective of the jobs you apply to? Then your problem may be that you’re not selling yourself well enough.
It needs to be immediately obvious to potential employers that you are a good fit for their companies. That’s why it’s vital that you take your time when applying to companies. Instead of sending off your resume immediately, first identify the three or four qualities that make you a great fit, and then emphasize them in your resume.
By tailoring your resume in this way, you’ll better align yourself with what employers are looking for, thereby increasing your chances of getting to the interview stage.
5. Get a Recommendation
Research tells us that you are twice as likely to be invited for an interview if you are referred to the business by an influential person. So, if you want to increase your chances of job-seeking success, try to find someone who can vouch for you.
By using some or all of these techniques, you will be able to improve your application-to-interview success rate – which hopefully means you’ll soon be sitting down at your brand new desk in your brand new office on the first day of your brand new job.