My current role is a full-time position that requires attention to detail, multitasking, exceptional communication, and interpersonal skills. I must possess proficiency in PC skills and multiple software systems, integral problem-solving skills, and the ability to adjust in a rapidly changing environment. I am required to work beyond normal business hours, over-time, holidays, and am required to respond to correspondence at all times, even during off time.
The best part? I do not get paid.
My average production is up to ten applications per day. I submit approximately 50 applications and/or resumes per week, depending on the market. That equals about 20 to 25 rejections per week. After all, not every company tells you that you are no longer in the running.
This week I submitted 15 applications and resumes to just one company. That included every position that they had posted in which I met or exceeded the minimum qualifications. I have no doubt that their HR department either loves or loathes me, but nothing in between.
Truth is, when I started working many years ago, we did this thing that is no longer done anymore: We got dressed in our most professional attire, drove around with 10 copies of our resume, walked into companies, and asked for the hiring manager. It worked well as managers got a good impression from the candidate, up front, if they would be a good fit. Now, we express ourselves on paper and cross fingers that our resumes and applications make it past the screening software that flags for keywords.
Years ago, you made changes to a resume when your employment changed, which was not often. Now I change my resume ten times per day, in my pajamas, and hoping one of these hiring managers can notice my work ethic and awesomeness just from how I have formatted my resume and because my cover letter says I rock.
Because I have been unsuccessful for so long, I doubt my advice is sound. However, these are the things I have found in my search engine history of, “what am I doing wrong in my job search?” These are pointers I have found to be incredibly helpful during this process.
1. Network until your fingers are numb and blue.
We have access to so many social media platforms. Seek out others like you. I started with Facebook and LinkedIn.
I was not a big fan of LinkedIn, but now I have about ten people a week looking at my profile and information. I have also used it connect with recruiters, managers, and be contacted by recruiters. I get it now. It works.
Facebook has so many groups. Seek out ones that are in your industry and line of work. I am a Medical Coder, so I typed in Medical Coders in the Facebook group search and asked to be added into the ones with the most people.
Where technology stops, pick up and do it the old-fashioned way. Talk to people in person. Mention what you do. Reach out to people you seem to clique with, even in those social media sites and spark up conversations. If you can, call around to volunteer. For my industry, the hospital is awesome. Not too mention, hospitals deal in many different areas including management and financing. Not everyone who works in a hospital has to know medical terminology and anatomy. Call around to public and private schools, large law firms, and hospitals to find out about volunteer opportunities.
I was recently given a very temporary contract assignment with a company. During that time, I reached out to some of the women in my group through emails, then Facebook and added them on LinkedIn. Come to find out, we have a lot in common and I made some new friends. When you start networking, you start discovering new friends in the industry. It cannot hurt. One, you have found new leads to jobs, and have new friends in the same boat. There are jobs I have come across that I am not qualified for, but I send them the recruiters’ names. Additionally, you have new friends who feel your pain and go through the same crap. As a woman, I need to vent at times. That is the nature of the best.
2. Not getting interviews?
What is wrong with your resume?
Yesterday I sent out 20 resumes. On 21, I realized my daughter had decided to type when I wasn’t looking. Ironically, it was the line that mentioned my high quality of work. It went something like this:
“Time on project extended due to high qu al ofokjnae ty of work.”
Grammatical errors. Spelling errors. Poor formatting. Maintain the same verb tense. Are you really detail-oriented?
If you are not applying for a position that is 100% labor, a lot of employers require attention to detail. What does it say when your resume shows, “Time on project extended due to high qu al ofokjnae ty of work.”
What are you applying for?
People get rejected for being overqualified as much as they are turned down because they are underqualified. Double check that you are what these companies and positions are looking for and make sure you fit in that box.
3. Getting the interview, but not the job?
Practice makes perfect. So what, you messed up in answering a question. So, you try again and practice, practice, practice. Search commonly asked questions during an interview. Practice answering them.
Ask for feedback. Have friends review your resume or pay a company to help you with it. A few recruiters have contacted me back and said my resume looks good. But you have to ask!
If you get turned down for a job after an interview, it is okay to ask why. Most managers may tell you that they had a more qualified candidate or give some generic reason, if they even respond, but maybe one will tell you something that really leads to developing your interviewing skills even more.
4. Ctrl Alt Del
Take a break!!! Do not let this consume your life. Only spend certain time frames and a specific amount of time applying and hunting for jobs. I created a separate email for job searching and only check the emails after I have had a cup of coffee and before Rays baseball evening games.
After about five rejections I get frustrated and down. I stop for a few days to regroup.
Eventually an interview occurs and the motivation returns, full tidal wave force. But, then as the rejections flood in, I have to stop and regroup after a couple weeks.
5. Keep applying to a company, even after hearing “We are moving forward…without you” 100 times.
After all, what is the worst thing that will happen? Will HR get frustrated with you? Will they call and tell you and tell you that they will never hire you? Well, at least you will know.
One company, I have applied to 31 times. As of now, I still have four open applications with them, and the rest were denied. I bombed one interview with them and have changed my resume five times in my profile.
But it is the type of company I want to work for, because they have great reviews, promote within, possess a solid business model, and believe in their employees. So, I will keep applying until the file a restraining order or I ace an interview. Which may take 100 interviews, but practice makes perfect!
It’s frustrating. It’s exhausting. It’s upsetting. It’s worse than dating in your 20s. But you can do it.
Above all else, BE YOURSELF! Well, be your professional self.