I have a degree! I have skills!!!
So why am I having so much trouble finding a job?
Why does my resume keep getting passed over?
Why do I never get the job offer after an interview?
Are these or similar questions prowling about in your mind? If so, read on.
Without a doubt, there are myriad reasons why a person’s search for a decent job remains fruitless month after month, perhaps even year after year. But with that in mind, we hope that you will find some insight here that will shed light on your situation, enable you to make some adjustments and move on with success.
You cannot control others’ decisions, but you do control yours.
This blog will focus on you and changes which may be wise to make regarding your job search, resume, experience, skills, presentation and interview.
Determine now to do whatever you must to move your career forward this year.
It is important to ask yourself where the problem is.
Is your resume eliciting a response from companies and hiring managers? If so, then the resume is probably not the problem. However, if your resume is not resulting in screening phone calls and/or interview opportunities, you must take a new approach and begin again in order to breathe new life into your resume.
Your resume is the first glimpse that a company has of you, and the power of this glimpse must not be underestimated. You must present yourself as professional, motivated, and skilled at something which the employer needs. Everything on your resume must point to these goals.
While it is true that some candidates have more experience than others, remember this: You are not just your resume. You are a person with real world experiences who has learned much in life. More than likely, you possess any number of admirable, transferable skills well beyond those currently stated on your resume.
IF you can effectively add a few of those relevant qualities, character traits, and skills to your resume, it will increase your value as a prospective candidate. You goal is to make it difficult for a potential employer to place your resume in their large stack of "NO" resumes.
Several types of resumes stand out as those which tend to get cast aside most often:
- Resumes reflecting little to no experience
- Those which lack focus and fail to clearly convey the candidate's actual interest and experience
- Resumes containing spelling and grammatical errors
- Resumes lacking current job information, objectives or explanations for employment lapses, such as the last date employed being 5 to 10 years ago, leave the employer wondering what the person has been doing and what they want now
- Any resumes which go on and on (about anything) or ones which reveal way too many jobs - there is often a better way to list part-time, seasonal, or temp jobs under a single heading - and permanent, full-time jobs should generally reflect the last decade only, though there are a few exceptions to this rule
These are basic resume issues which can be addressed successfully, so do your homework and rework those resumes to your advantage.
CLICK HERE for additional tips on updating your resume.
The Professional Aspect
Are you a professional? If so, then convey that by including words on your resume which prove the point. Words having to do with your work ethic, a respected reputation, proven people or problem-solving skills and strong communication skills would be quite appropriate. Just don’t go overboard with the listing of anything on a resume – using 1 to 3 descriptive terms on any point would be sufficient. Even the bullet points detailing a job description should be kept brief and focus on the primary responsibilities of the job.
If you would not label yourself as a professional, there are ways of correcting that problem. Many people associate professionalism with one’s dress. However, there is much more to professional behavior and presentation than what one wears.
CLICK HERE to read more about professionalism.
To ever have a chance of landing a job interview, you must learn the BEST WAY to present yourself and your experience to a potential employer on paper. This means perfecting not only the resume but also the application: neat and legible handwriting, true information regarding past employers, honest and within-range salary requests, and correct phone numbers for at least 3 solid professional references.
Regarding situations in which you were fired, it is best to state the truth of the matter on the application although it is recommended to use terminology such as "involuntary separation" over more blatant language like "fired" or "terminated". The goal is simply to get an interview. Then, you can more fully disclose the reason behind your dismissal at that time.
However, if you feel strongly compelled to address the firing in writing, attach a separate piece of paper with a typed statement. Too much direct information may eliminate you without the employer actually hearing your voice and witnessing your sincerity, so be careful. It may be best to give a simple summary of the situation, statement of regret, lessons learned, and/or to request the opportunity to discuss the matter further during an interview as you feel that you have much to offer. You may need to try different things until what you do results in an actual interview.
In the case of long-term unemployment or delayed re-employment, a cover letter briefly stating your situation, hopeful outlook, and continued strong desire to return to work along with the other information typically included would be appropriate to attach to the application and/or resume submission.
To learn more about writing a cover letter, CLICK HERE.
App and Resume Lingo
Conduct online research to find the most updated language utilized by hiring managers to describe and recruit for those jobs in which you are interested. This will give your resume increased relevancy because the language on your resume and application will have a greater chance of matching that which is on a similar open job description. This is more important than you might imagine.
Reflect on any phone screening opportunities you’ve had that did not result in a follow up interview.
Phone Interview Opportunities
When you are given a chance to speak on the phone with a recruiter or hiring manager about an open position, what happens? Do you hear interest on the other end? Does the conversation flow smoothly? Do you convey your energy, work ethic and professionalism with your tone of voice and words - thus conveying your serious interest in the job?
Is the conversation awkward? Do you have the feeling that the person calling wants to get off the phone way too quickly? Does the phone screening end without interest being expressed?
Potential Reasons for Unsuccessful Phone Interviews
Try to discern why these types of calls do not result in sincere interest. Does your cell phone voice sound unclear? Did you sound too casual and unprofessional? Did you get caught off-guard and find yourself unable to give good answers to the screener? Then try to be more prepared next time and intentional about how you answer ALL your calls during your job hunt.
Did the lack of some skill or experience cause interest in you to waver or be lost? Is it a legitimate loss? That is, were you not actually qualified to do the work required? Or could you take a class and learn a needed skill which would increase your job search success? If so, do it without delay!
If the problem is always a lack of experience and taking a class or two isn’t an option, it is probably best to change the type of job you are seeking. This will also mean completely editing your resume and cover letter. Anytime you go for a lesser job or a position quite different from what you’ve done in the past, you should offer a brief but reasonable explanation in the body of your cover letter and in the summary of your resume.
1. Perhaps a hiring manager calls your home number, and s/he leaves a message (or not) after having been forced to listen to your goofy or sultry voice on the answering machine. Two extremes, I know, but do you really think this highlights the professional, responsible behavior that you want an employer to believe you possess? When you are job hunting, remember to edit the voice mail greeting on your phones. Another tip: Check to be sure your voice mail box is both set up and empty. You would not believe how many times recruiters are unable to leave a message.
2. There may be edits needed on your social media pages as well. Employers are looking, so be sure to clean up those posts BEFORE beginning your job search.
3. If you are asked about salary requirements, you should be honest about what you have made in the past and what you would consider now - whether it is a lower or higher amount. Just know that your answer could potentially eliminate you as a candidate. You should understand that hiring managers need some sense of assurance that the person they hire will be content with the salary being offered.
4. When you receive a screening call, you must never assume anything about the person on the other end of the phone. It is so easy to offend someone you’ve never met. A rude word, negativity, a non-conversational tone of voice, short or abrupt answers, casting blame, yelling to others around you, distraction, and many other things can cause the caller to simply say “no” to you and your resume.
5. Be mindful that interview rules apply whether it is a face to face interview or simply a phone interview. Be prepared, respectful, focused, professional, and responsive. If you receive a screening phone call, go into interview mode immediately.
6. Being too arrogant about your skills can be a turn off, so share wisely and find a way to speak professionally about your level of achievement and skill. On the other hand, some individuals tend to be too humble. If this is you, do not risk being labeled as an “unskilled” or “weak” candidate, but speak up for yourself. Be confident enough to tell the person what you have done and are truly capable of doing.
Give your best effort to discerning the real reasons why your phone interviews are not resulting in interview offers. Then make any necessary adjustments.
If you are receiving interview opportunities but are failing to be offered any jobs, know that there is a reason for this continued disappointment. To the best of your ability, you must discern what that is and do/say something different.
Pondering failure or rejection can be quite depressing, so it is something you should think through once or twice then lay aside. Why? Because it can become this burdensome "thing" that keeps you awake at night wondering what in the world you could have possibly done wrong. It is also true that someone will always be “better” in some way than you. We are not perfect human beings or workers, so accept the reality, and do not let it get the best of you and your life.
We’ll start with the basics. The interview begins as soon as you arrive on company grounds because you never know who is watching you.
- Drive, park, walk, sit, greet, stand, shake hands, behave, converse and even make your exit in the most professional manner possible.
- Do not underestimate the power of friendly conversation and a smile along with the repeat of a person’s name after an introduction.
- Allow the interviewer to see and experience your personality. They want to know if you will be a good fit for their company and culture. You should want to know the same.
- And heed this tip: slightly imitating the laid back or matter-of-fact approach that the interviewer chooses is also a good idea.
Beyond the Basics of the Interview Process
Based on personal experience, here are a few thoughts regarding the reasons why many interviewees do not receive the job offer:
1. The interviewee shows up on the wrong day, at the incorrect time, late, or not at all.
2. The hiring manager’s first impression – made in fewer than 8 seconds - is less than professional.
3. The person talks way too much, often preventing the interviewer from asking important questions. Most of the time, the candidate doesn’t even realize what a negative characteristic this is for them in both the interview and the workplace.
4. S/he wears an abundance of perfume or cologne which turns off everyone they meet.
5. Rude, arrogant, unfriendly, insincere, careless, clueless, over-zealous, inappropriately dressed, less than honest candidates are rarely chosen.
6. Many times, I believe, the candidate is too (you fill in the blank) in some way causing the interviewer to wonder if the person would really be a good fit in their office.
7. Sometimes it is an honest lack of people, problem-solving, creative, leadership, or communication skills which will cause a person not to be chosen for an open position.
8. Most job seekers have no earthly idea how real the competition is for jobs. They wrongly believe that they can simply do the basics (type up a quick resume, email it out, and complete a few applications) and have the perfect job. This is rare and highly unlikely.
Job candidates must learn how to market themselves and all their best skills and character traits to the right businesses. Job seekers must network because referrals and recommendations result in more job offers than mere app or resume submissions. They must also seek out and maintain a list of their best professional references for the future.
Job seekers must be diligent, determined and delighted with every type of interview opportunity. Why? Because you never know who you might meet or what potential another person might see in you.
Yes, you have skills. Yes, finding a job is challenging. Yes, your resume will get passed over now and then. But if you will take the time to ponder the rejection you’ve experienced thus far, you may find answers and hope for a brighter future that were almost non-existent before. And that may be the best marketing tip in this blog: have hope and continue the job-seeking process. It can be one of the more challenging journeys we experience in this life, but it can also be a most rewarding one when you are finally offered a job. Even accepting a lesser position can make you feel so useful again that your confidence will simply soar and cause the future to seem much brighter than before.
If you would like to have Brannon Professionals' assistance in your job search, contact us at your convenience: 662-349-9194 or by email – firstname.lastname@example.org.