Crunching away at job applications and getting nowhere is pretty demoralising. This two part post aims to show you how to work smarter, not harder, to get the results you deserve from your job application efforts. It is all about focus and planning - not just more activity and panic!
See our earlier Part 1 for the first five steps.
Step 6. Be prepared to tweak each and every application
Unless every job you’re applying for is identical in every way, the likelihood of one generic resume getting you through the first application assessment is very low. Reshape your cover letter and resume to mirror each job ad – changing the emphasis to correspond to the needs specified. A targeted, high quality application will beat a generic resume every time and increase your chances of getting an interview.
Step 7. Get organised
This is an important step. Use a spreadsheet (or some other organisation tool) to create a calendar that lists all the suitable opportunities that you have identified. Include contact details, ad date, closing date, requirements, date of your application, response, date of online tests, date of interview etc.
Step 8. Stay in control and manage your activity
Use your calendar to prioritise and manage your activity. This way you know when the job ad closing dates are and when interviews are scheduled so you can prioritise and put in the necessary effort for what’s coming next. If don’t get a response to your application after a set period send a follow up email. If you don’t hear for 2 weeks assume the opportunity is dead and move on.
Step 9. Keep the activity up and prioritise.
Keep sending out targeted applications and recording what you are doing. You are bound to hit hurdles and get rejections, but it doesn’t matter. Just move on to the next activity on your schedule. If you have another interview coming up, switch your attention to preparing for that. Concentrate on preparation in order of priority without panicking about recent results.
Step 10. Keep emotion out of it!
Treat the job application process as a series of steps and hurdles. If you manage it like a project and treat it unemotionally you will feel in control. When you fail, dust yourself down, review your calendar and move on to the next opportunity.
Remember that job advertisements - what we are discussing here - are just a fraction of the job market. If you are really smart, you will work your network to discover job opportunities before they hit the market. Studies show over 60% of jobs are filled this way.