The reasons why many job seekers don’t get interviews
A new (US) study shows what hiring managers really want, and it clearly demonstrates why so many job seekers fail to get interviews.
In an article published in LinkedIn Pulse this week, Catriona Herron Watt of CV Saviour Résumés quoted the study explaining what job seekers need to do to increase their chances of getting to interview. And, as she writes, there are no surprises in what they’ve found. It’s what I have been telling my clients for years.
A little over half (53%) the employers surveyed said that most résumés don’t provide enough information for them to be able to accurately decide whether or not an applicant would be a good fit for the position.
Is your résumé tailored to that specific position? Would the first few lines grab an employer’s interest by talking about your motivation for that specific position? And does every line help an employer envisage you in the position?
The survey found that 39% of employers want to see examples of the candidate’s work. To me, that figure seems to be absurdly low. In my experience all employers want evidence of a candidate’s achievements that are relevant to the position being applied for. This is why I devote two chapters in How to Get a Good Job After 50 to composing achievement statements. They are essential material in résumés and other application documents, and also in answers to interview questions. Achievement statements should compose at least 50% of every answer.
It sounds like a lot of hard work – and it is. If you really want that job, you have to put in a better application than the other candidates – and by application, I mean the whole application process, written application, interview, research into the position and the organisation and networking with key people. Job search is a full-time job, or at least as full-time as you can afford to make it. According to Catriona Herron Watt’s article, job seekers spend on average 11 hours a week in the job search. If you are spending 11 hours a week in the job search and someone who is going for the same job is putting in three times that amount of time, which of you is the more likely to produce a winning application? If you are not currently employed, work at the job search as if it were a full-time job.
Job search is hard work but if you plan your job search campaign carefully, you should be able to get a job of your choosing within three months and often a lot sooner. It depends on you and on the time and effort you put into the job search. It’s hard work but it’s not rocket science. We can all do it if we really want to.
If you are finding it difficult to get a job, and you’re not sure about how to mount a successful job search campaign, read my book How to Get a Good Job After 50. Maybe you aren’t yet that old but it doesn’t matter. While the book is addressed to older job seekers, the strategies work for job seekers of all ages.