By Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady
Interview Progression Issues
After you apply for a job, your goal is to be selected for an interview. That process usually includes an initial phone screen, one or more face-to-face interviews, then a job offer.
As you progress in your job search, it's important to take time on a regular basis to evaluate what you are doing and see if you need to modify your approach. Let's look at possible ways to proceed if you are not receiving callbacks from employers for initial phone screens.
No Initial Interview Invitations
I’ve seen variations on the following LinkedIn post way too many times: “I’ve applied for 300 jobs over the last six months, and I have only gotten a couple of interviews.” Realize you won’t get a phone screen for every job application you submit, but you should be getting some. If you apply for even 20 jobs and don’t hear anything back from any of them, it’s time to reassess and figure out what you need to change to have more success.
The first huge step in job searching is getting out of the virtual pile of job applications and into the much more selective “we gotta talk to this one” pile. Taking these steps can help.
Step 1: Identify Your Target Job
Often, people who struggle with getting job interviews need to revisit what they want in a job and target their job search toward that goal. Unfortunately, while applying for as many jobs as possible seems logical, it often backfires. Instead, job seekers who identify what they really want, then apply for those roles more closely matching their interests and qualifications get hired sooner.
Step 2: Realign Goals and Messaging
Another problem shared by people who struggle with job searching is not talking about what they want, their work experience, and their most relevant qualifications. Ensure your resume has a strong Professional Summary highlighting the type of role desired and your value to your target role.
Step 3: Focus on Fewer Applications
How many applications should you do in a given week? Applying for 300 jobs over six months (26 weeks) is an average of 11.5 applications per week. That is A LOT. When I’m job searching, my weekly goal is three applications per week, and I could submit as many as six per week if I’m driven to apply for a few more roles that look promising. By focusing on fewer job applications, I increase my quality instead of relying too heavily on quantity.
Step 4: Customize your Resume for Each Application
When I decide to apply for a role, I take 15-30 minutes per application to customize my resume. Taking this extra time to update my language helps potential employers understand how my skill set aligns directly with what they are looking for in a candidate. Ensuring the right keywords are present for an Automated Tracking System (ATS) and for the recruiter who initially reviews each resume will give you a better chance of being selected for a phone screen.
To make these updates efficiently and effectively, I focus on two sections: Professional Summary and Skills & Competencies. Check out the Learn More section for additional information on strategies for customizing your resume.
7-time layoff survivor Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady, waxes poetic on layoffs, job transitions, & career resilience.
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