As a job seeker, you may have blind spots that prevent you from getting job interviews. Although you may feel you are doing everything you can in your job hunt, you may have areas where you need improvement but don’t see it. Ask yourself these five questions to uncover your job search blind spots:
- Do I apply for jobs only posted online? Many job openings can be applied for only online. But numerous jobs can be found in other ways. You are missing out if you don’t network by asking people you know if they are aware of job openings and contacting employers of interest who may not have posted all of their openings yet. Also be sure to look for openings beyond the big job boards. Check out sites focused on specific fields, consult your alumni and professional associations, and research smaller organizations. In addition, pay attention to your local business news and contact companies that appear to be expanding and hiring or are making plans to do so. Also see my post, "50 Other Ways to Find Job Openings."
- Do I use the same resume and cover letter for every job application? Although it takes a little time and effort to tailor your job search materials to an employer’s requirements, it is important that employers see how you can fulfill their needs. Study job ads and add to your resume the terminology and keywords that the employer uses. This approach will help you get through automated screening systems that will toss your resume if it doesn’t include specific keywords. See my related post, "Customize Your Resume in 15 Minutes," for more help.
- Do I apply for just about any job? If you apply for any and every job, you will get worn out and will not get too much interest. Employers want employers who can fill their needs. Narrow your focus and apply just for the jobs that suit your background and skills. You will be more quickly called for an interview if you target your job hunt.
- Am I informal and casual in my job applications? Although informality has become more common in everyday communication, your business communications, especially during the job search, should be more formal and professional. Your resume, cover letter, emails, and phone calls should be devoid of all lowercase proper nouns, all capitalized words, slangy acronyms, unprofessional email addresses, and unprofessional voicemail messages.
- Am I a social media mess? Many employers will research potential employees online. Be sure they won’t find anything inappropriate or unprofessional about you.
Spend some time thinking about your possible job-seeking blind spots, including the ones above. Then make an effort to address them to get hired more quickly.