Why You Can’t Get a Job

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Can’t land a job? Even after sending out hundreds of resumes? Turns out, it’s your fault and it isn’t your fault.

Internationally known HR thought-leader, regarded as the "Michael Jordan of Hiring" by Fast Company, Dr. John Sullivan offers a few insights to prospective job seekers in this highly competitive economy. First off, job seekers should realize that every job opening draws hundreds of resumes. Sullivan’s recent article in ere.net details the hiring process from a recruiter’s perspective. Some points to ponder:

Gone in 6 Seconds

The average recruiter spends just 6 seconds reviewing a resume. Four seconds for job titles, companies you worked for, start/end dates and education—and the last two seconds to note anything truly outstanding. What about your well-crafted cover letter, the one you spent hours refining? According to BeHiring, only 17 percent of recruiters will read it.

Fatal Formats and Typos

Other paths to the “round file” include typos and spelling errors, an unprofessional email address, and displaying dates that show you’re currently unemployed. Using a PDF format, which many ATS systems can’t read, or deviating from the accepted standard resume format can also put you out of the running (you should know the standard formats by now, as there are many examples online). Your resume should be ATS friendly and keyword rich. If your resume isn’t customized to the job, it will fall short of the required “keywords” to reach human eyeballs.

A Failure to Communicate

According to the Wall Street Journal, half of all applicants fail to meet the basic qualifications for the job they apply for. That’s because they spend less than a minute reading and assessing the job description (TheLadders). Most of that time is spent on the introductory description--the job title, compensation, and location.

The “Recent Grad” Ball-and-Chain

Recent grads with no applicable job experience are viewed “as unprepared for the work place” (Adecco).  A resume with no or little experience scores low on the ATS keyword count. All the more reason to get an internship (ideally paid) in the field or company you plan to work for.

Surviving the Knockout Round

Your resume passed muster and you got the phone call to come in. This initial interview is often referred to as the “Knockout Round” by recruiters. That’s because their goal is not to hire you, but to find flaws in your character, appearance or answers that will disqualify you. So have your guard up and be totally prepared—no matter how congenial the interview actually gets.

Some Pro-Active Steps

To shift the odds in your favor, there are some things you can do right now. First off, if you’re a recent grad, join your college alumni association. Attend as many networking events as you can. The same goes for career fairs, professional organizations and conferences in your field. Submit papers and prepare short presentations. Recruiters do attend these activities looking for talent. Look, too, into job shadowing and internships (especially with companies you may want to work for). And don’t forget the importance of LinkedIn, making sure your profile is professional and constantly updated.

Can’t find a decent job? There are things you can do and things you’ll have no control over. The above tips will help put the odds in your favor.

Image courtesy of Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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