It’s the most frustrating scenario an professional can experience. You’ve spruced up your resume, sent it off to open jobs and after a few weeks you are still hearing crickets. Nothing seems to work and trying to get a hold of HR has been useless.
You scratch your head wondering what could possibly be wrong. After all, you’ve got great experience! Could you be overqualified? Did you format your resume incorrectly? Did you not use enough keywords?
It’s probably none of the above. In fact, if you’re still getting zero results from your job hunting efforts it’s because you may be making one of these all too common mistakes.
(1) You think your resume is a magical elixir.
A resume, while important, is nothing more than a marketing document. You could even equate it to a business card or a white paper. Just because you have one, even one done exceptionally well, doesn’t mean you’re going to automatically get new business or job interviews.
In other words, a resume by itself is not going to get you the job regardless of how spectacular it is. While you must have one, it’s not going to do very much unless you take more proactive approaches like networking, connecting with people and going to conferences.
In reality, it’s having your resume handy at the right places and then giving it to the right people that will get you those interviews.
(2) You’re only sending your resume to company and job board postings.
Most professional job seekers say, “I feel like I am sending my resume into the black hole!” But they keep doing it…Sending resumes to job postings rarely work, even with a professionally done resume.
Why? Submitting to job postings is the job search equivalent to direct mail, and they say successful direct mail campaigns have a one to two percent success rate—so if you submitted to 100 job postings (which is not recommended), you are doing well if you get one to two responses.
To further put this into perspective, according to JobVite and other studies, less than 25% of hires are made through job postings and third party recruiters. Meanwhile 75% of hires are made through social media connections, employee referrals and personal contacts. Only when a hire cannot be made through an employee referral, social media connection or personal contact, will a job posting or third party recruiter will be used—making jobs on job boards and with third party recruiters typically the harder jobs to fill.
As a result, it would seem that sending your resume to job postings is probably the least effective way to get a new job. Instead, you must focus on building relationships with people.
(3) You are not working with a target list of companies.
If you are only waiting for the right job postings to appear or a search firm to call you, then you are missing out on how 75% of hires are made. Make a list of 25 target companies where you want to work. To find the right contact to approach, research the title of your current boss (or the title of the boss for the job you want) in the prospective company and find their contact information. Introduce yourself outlining what you bring to the table and request an exploratory interview—no job posting needed!
(4) You’re still waiting for HR to get back to you.
You may have a higher chance of being struck by lightning than you do of someone in HR ever contacting you. This is especially true if you sent your resume through a job posting. By the time HR posts a position online, the company probably already has a candidate in mind, meaning that posting is more of a formality than anything else.
If there is a job posting, a more effective approach would be to directly contact whichever manager is overseeing the position. Guess in an educated manner, if you are not sure. Even if you’re a CEO you could reach out to the board of directors.
Bonus: Learn how to overcome the biggest hurdle in your job search — yourself. Check out my new Guide on the Job Landing Mindset.
(5) You are not talking to enough people.
People hire people. Have you been submitting to job postings, retweeting posts on Twitter and sharing articles on LinkedIn thinking you have your networking covered? You need to talk and engage people. Follow up with a prospective hiring manager of an open job posting – or better yet, reach out to the manager even if there is not a posting. Contact the writer of the retweetable tweet and express your agreement or position and open a dialogue. Reach out to the LinkedIn contact you have not spoken with in a while using the shared article as a conversation ice breaker. Take it a step further and use social media as a conduit to conversation with a human. It is a combination of old school and new school job search tactics that will land you your next role.
(6) You are talking to the wrong people.
If you are hoping an professional recruiters will help you find a job, you may be waiting a long time. Professional recruiters may not be the best option for you to find work. Professional recruiters are paid a fee to find someone currently doing the job as an professional employee at a company. If you are not currently doing the job, and yes, that can include being unemployed, it may be viewed as either not worthy of the fee or too much of a risk for the fee premium (which can be 25-30% fee in addition to your salary in hiring you). Now that same company may hire you directly and take the risk of you being an employee, but not pay a premium to hire you when you have not been an employee before. It is just economics. It’s why you need to make a list of target companies and reach out to professionals at the companies directly. I have suggestions below….
(7) You are not using Social Media to generate your own job leads.
Sure you might have a great LinkedIn profile, but have you posted activity, participated in groups or created a contact list with Advanced Search to increase your profile views? Additionally, Twitter is a treasure trove of job leads—direct job leads and leads to hiring managers. Whether using #hashtags to find relevant conversations to participate in and make new contacts or direct message (DM) hiring managers to start conversations, Twitter can be an amazing resource to advance your search. Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Groups are filled with golden nuggets of information that can lead to a position. Using the Advanced Search feature of LinkedIn can help you devise your own target list, as mentioned earlier. And posting activity regularly in all of these mediums can keep you top of your network’s mind to be recommended for opportunities.