We get so many calls from frustrated job seekers who have been sending their resume out to each and every job vacancy that they find interesting. And yet they get zero response – not a single interview - and wonder why.
A quick update and edit should do it shouldn’t it?
Often they feel their resume just needs a quick ‘polish up’ so they can carry on with their high volume application approach. After all, they argue, it’s a numbers game and something is bound to stick eventually. Well, sorry to disappoint but in today’s market with so many applicants per job vacancy, the generic ‘spray and pray’ approach just does not work no matter how beautifully your resume reads to you.
What happens to your resume when you apply?
HR Managers or Recruiters will receive 100 or more applications per vacancy and their first task is to cut that number down to a manageable number of candidates who match what they are looking for. They speed scan each resume looking for a match to the essential skills and experience they stipulated in the job advertisement. After about 10-20 seconds will reject those that do not make first base. If you have the basic requirements essential for the job they will give it another few minutes looking for evidence of your experience and achievements. If you pass that test, you get to the ‘to be interviewed’ stage.
Unless every job you are applying for is identical in every way, the likelihood of your one generic resume getting you through this selection method is very low.
What to do instead?
You need to review your method. Instead of applying to as many jobs as possible you need to focus on those that are a good match for your skill set and experience. Each application and resume should be a response to the job vacancy showcasing your proven skills, experience and achievements in the areas sought. A targeted, high quality application will beat a generic resume every time and increase your chances of getting an interview.
“A targeted, high quality application will beat a generic resume every time..."
But what about the numbers game?
It still is a numbers game and you very definitely should keep your job application activity up and stay busy, but you can avoid all those wasted applications with a little thought and preparation.
Concentrate on those job advertisements where you actually meet the requirements.
Make sure that you tailor each application to make it very clear that you meet each requirement in the job advert.
Give evidence that you have what they are looking for: the best way to do that is with quantified achievements.
Make sure your resume and cover letter are easy to read – and most importantly that your fit to the job opportunity is very obvious to the reader.
That will feel like very hard work for the first few that you do, but you will soon find that the roles you apply to are quite similar, so the requirements are quite similar too. So tailoring of each application will get easier and easier.
So, if you have been guilty of ‘spraying and praying’ I challenge you to take a deep breath, stand back, review your approach and start by writing a single targeted application, and then another. You will soon be playing the numbers game far more effectively. Let us know how you get on.