Getting Interviews or Getting Screened Out
Today’s Tip To Energise Your Job Search
If you have been applying for lots of advertised roles but keep getting screened out – or just not hearing anything back – you are not alone, this happens to the majority of job seekers. And it is probably because you are missing out on some key steps that could substantially increase your ‘strike rate’. No cast iron promises or magic bullets here, but an approach that should see you get more first interviews if you work the process consistently. Most job seekers are far too reactive in their approach to applications. They just fire off generic applications and hope someone will call back.
Here’s how you can change the game.
- Draft a tightly targeted cover letter using the actual wording from the selection criteria in the advert. Your application will more than likely be subjected to an automated keyword scan and this will help you to survive this first filter
- Identify a couple of items of information the advert does not give you. Formulate 2 questions based on this that would help you to decide whether to apply
- Do everything you can to get someone on the phone at the employer or recruitment agency running the advert. If that means ringing their main number and asking the receptionist if there is someone you can speak to then do that.
- Ask your questions. Ask for a position description. Ask if you can send your application to them by email as well as via the ‘Apply Now” button on the advert. Be ready to answer some initial screening questions
- Use what you have learned from the call and the position description to tailor your letter even more specifically and then do the same to your resume
- Submit your application. If it is online only, follow their instructions regarding uploading cover letter and resume
- If sending your application by email, create a single PDF document that contains your cover letter and resume so that there is only one attachment for them to open. Less chance that they will ignore your carefully crafted letter
- In no more than 48 hours make a follow up call, ideally to the same person you spoke to on the first call. This time you want to check that they can open and read any documents you emailed or uploaded – even if you got an electronic receipt or upload confirmation. I have seen many instances of documents being corrupted and unreadable despite the confirmation
- If you are feeling brave, ask if they have had a chance to read your application and ask for a reaction
- Otherwise, at least find out when they might be calling people to arrange interviews and get permission to follow up again in a few days to see if they have read your application. That way you are in more control of your activity and won’t have to sit around wondering if they are still likely to call you back
Now I realise that this isn’t going to magically deliver an interview every time. But you will feel more in control and in my experience you should expect a better ratio of interviews to applications. Just do the work!