Have you stalled out on the job search highway? Have the molehills on the road begun to look like Mount Everest? The truth is everyone stalls out from time to time; everyone takes a misstep once in awhile. The trick is to realize sooner rather than later that what you are doing isn’t working and take steps to get back on track. Below are three common obstacles job hunters encounter and easy-to implement steps for getting around them.
BLACK HOLE RÉSUMÉS
When your résumé goes out and seems never again to see the light of day, check whether it is under whelming or even repelling potential employers.
Problem: The résumé doesn’t sell you at the correct level. More often than not, it undersells your capabilities and doesn’t highlight the value you would add to an organization.
Solution: Review your résumé for accomplishments. Does it include at least three, and preferably more, specific examples of ways you have contributed to the success of previous organizations? If not, include examples of what you have done to improve service, increase sales, increase efficiency or otherwise added value or made a difference to the organization.
Problem: Your résumé doesn’t match the job requirements. Many times job seekers mistakenly assume one résumé fits all. Not true!
Solution: Carefully read the job requirements. Identify the specific skills the job requires. Now tailor your résumé so that it highlights and provides examples of when you have demonstrated the required skills.
Problem: Your résumé is difficult to read. It may be that it contains typos or poor grammar, or perhaps the type is too small or difficult to read.
Solution: Use the Spell check and Grammar check functions on your computer to check for obvious mistakes. Ask a friend with an eye for editing to review your résumé. Ask for feedback on the readability of the size and style of type. The key is to make it easy on the reader’s eyes.
CUT FROM THE PACK BEFORE YOUR TIME
Disappointed when you don’t get the interview?
Problem: Your résumé generates follow up telephone calls from potential employers but that initial conversation seldom, if ever, goes anywhere.
Solution: Make sure you are prepared to talk with a potential employer before you pick up the telephone. If you are not mentally prepared for a spur-of-the-moment interview, don’t pick up the telephone. Let voicemail take the call.
When you do pick up the telephone be prepared to discuss what you have to offer and give clear, concise examples of your on-the-job successes.
DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $100
What if interviews don’t result in requests for return engagements?
Problem: Although you get invited to the first round of interviews you seldom, if ever, get invited back.
Solution: Next time, as the interview is winding down ask, “In your opinion, how do my qualifications match your requirements?” This is a bold question but one that you must ask. The interviewer has formed an opinion; it is to your advantage to know what he or she thinks.
If, for example, the interviewer mentions that you are a good match-agree and restate why you think so too. If he or she expresses some hesitation because of a specific and unfounded reason, apologize for giving that impression and offer an example that counters that impression.
If the interviewer expresses hesitation due to a seemingly valid reason or weakness (one that you should be aware of and prepared for in advance) offer an example that mitigates or minimizes the issue. And of course, always, always, always write a thank you note after the interview outlining why you are such a perfect match for the position!
The next time you are faced with résumé and interview roadblocks, take these advantageous alternate routes to get your search back in high gear!