There are a lot of mixed messages about the job market at the moment, but one thing is sure: if you are not busy applying, you are not going to get a new job! But we still see loads of highly active job hunters getting absolutely nowhere even though they are applying to everything they see. Pretty depressing for anyone, right? Nobody likes all that rejection.
If you fall into this category, don’t despair. There is an answer. By changing your approach from one of just high activity to one of smart activity, you can feel more in control and get better results.
So, if you’ve been sending your resume to every job ad that you think looks OK, with dozens of applications going all over the place or posting your resume on mega jobs boards that swallow them without a trace and you are still getting no response, these steps will show you how to stack the odds in your favour and get better results. It’s not about doing even more – it’s about doing less – but with purpose.
Here’s the first of our two part guide on how to work smarter, not harder:
Step 1: Take stock. What do you have to offer now?
Perform a ruthless self-audit. List your experience, education, achievements, skills. We’re not talking about what you hope to become at this stage – but what you have achieved to date and how you can use these achievements to land your next job.
Step 2: Make a list of job ads that match your offering.
Now revisit all relevant sources of job ads – newspapers, journals, online job sites. Review the job ad requirements. Do you meet them?
Step 3. If you don’t meet the requirements, don’t apply!
If the ad asks specifically for experience or education that you do not have, cross it out and move on. Employers list requirements in ads as a means to exclude applications. Save your time, energy and emotion and just don’t apply for roles that you don’t fit. You wouldn’t have got them anyway.
Step 4. Concentrate on those job ads where you actually meet the requirements.
Make a realistic list of those job ads where you really do meet the requirements. The number of ads you will be replying to will be fewer but your chance of getting a favourable reply is already higher.
Step 5. Apply - and don’t leave any doubt about your fit for the job.
When you apply make it absolutely obvious that you match their requirements in both your resume and cover letter. A hiring manager’s first scan of an application will be under 10-20 seconds as they look for a match to the essential skills and experience they stipulated. So make it clear up front that you meet these requirements.
We will go though the next five steps in Part 2.