Do you know that only 20% of job applicants get calls for interviews? So, what can you do to increase your chances of landing a job interview and get hired?
Recently I posted a job ad to fill a role for WinningEdge. Within a few days, I got over 100 resumes. But, to my utter astonishment, I found more than 50% of candidates who applied did not even qualify or do not have relevant experience for the job. I was looking for a Jr/Mid-level candidate, but some candidates who had more than 20 years of experience applied too! I felt some did not even bother to read the job description and applied just by looking at the job title. I even had some screening questions to filter candidates and most of them answered them just for the sake of answering to get past the filter.
Being a small business owner and CEO (Chief Everything Officer 😊), I always have a time crunch. Obviously reading each resume (even the unqualified ones) and shortlisting candidates is a time-consuming and painful process. But there are some candidates who went above and beyond, provided the right information, did the right things and caught my attention. I shortlisted them and moved to the next round of the selection process.
So, I decided to write about my experience and share some tips with jobseekers like you. Basically, what you can do to win the heart of the recruiter/hiring manager and not turn them away.
First thing first. Read the job description till the end, no matter how boring it reads! And only apply if you seem to be a good fit. Refrain from applying if you do not meet the criteria specified in the job description. It may sound cliché, but I see a lot of candidates applying mindlessly to every job they come across. While job search can be a long daunting process, know that applying to random jobs doesn’t help you to land a job. If you think you fit a role, customize your resume as per the job description.
A cover letter is a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd. So, do not miss including a cover letter along with your job application. On average, for every job opening, an employer receives 118 applications, and only 20% of applicants land up for interviews. Unfortunately, some of them do not even get opened. Reviewers scan through resumes quickly and if your resume doesn’t grab the attention, your application perhaps will end up in the trash bin. So, include a compelling cover letter to grab the attention of the recruiter. Heard the saying “your first impression is your last impression”? Your cover letter is your opportunity to create that first impression. So, pay some attention while drafting your cover letter. Highlight your past work achievements that can bring value to the organization you are applying to. Keep it short and crisp, do not go in too deep, your resume is meant for that.
Take time to understand the screening questions if any and answer them to the best of your ability.
Employers add screening questions to filter the noise and reduce prescreening time. Use this opportunity to provide all the details so that reviewers can move the application to the next step.
Let your resume tell your story!
Let me tell you the harsh truth. Recruiters receive hundreds of resumes every day and no one has the bandwidth to read through resumes that are too long. This is exactly why you should focus on writing a compelling resume that tells a story. Your story! Some of the things to keep in mind while drafting your resume:
Start with a career summary and your key skills!
Add measurable accomplishments.
Remove less relevant experience.
Keep the resume short (2-3 pages). Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes.
Include your LinkedIn profile URL!
Find out who is hiring (through professional networking sites like LinkedIn) and reach out to the hiring manager directly with a personalized message and explain why you are a great fit for the role.
This is not always possible but wherever you can, I strongly recommend doing it because it increases your chances of at least getting an interview. Establishing a personal connection with a recruiter and hiring manager always helps to get an edge over your competitors.
If you think you have done all the things discussed above and still have not received a response, follow up with an email. However, be polite and do not bombard the recruiter with a series of emails.