5 Reasons Your Job Search May Not Be Working was originally published on Ivy Exec.
We often hear about how job hunting is a full-time job.
Some people do spend 40 hours a week on the process, but even if you don’t have that much time, every job search requires considerable time.
According to Zippia, it takes 21 to 80 job applications to land an offer. About half of candidates receive at least one offer after three interviews.
The number of applications necessary is likely to increase at the executive level, too, as each position at this level receives around 250 applications.
So, if you want to land that elusive job offer sooner rather than later, Indeed.com suggests applying for 15 positions each week – or two to three openings per day.
“Sending out multiple applications each week that you customize to a specific position can increase your chances of getting a job. Suppose you’re currently searching for a job. In that case, it’s important to balance submitting multiple applications with other tasks that can help you find the best employment opportunity for you,” the editorial team suggests.
The key here is ensuring you’re searching for positions you would take if offered and individualizing your application to each opening. If you’re launching application after application, you’re probably wasting your time.
Of course, it can be demoralizing searching for jobs, tailoring each, and preparing for interview after interview. You may be kindly rejected, or you might not hear anything after you complete the application.
Why do some companies ghost applicants?
“The bar for candidate selection is higher than ever. There are many more qualified candidates for far fewer positions. On top of that, people are working harder and may not have the bandwidth to respond in a meaningful way, no matter how qualified you are,” explained Columbia Business School for Ivy Exec.
If it’s taking you a while to land a job offer, you might be doing everything right but haven’t found the right fit. But some people may inadvertently hurt their chances by committing one or more of these applications or interview snafus. Do you recognize any of them?
You’re focusing too heavily on job boards, not on networking.
If you’re only applying for jobs via platforms like Monster.com or Indeed, you’re missing a key part of your job search: networking. You are much more likely to land a job if you’ve connected with someone who works there or through someone in your network that they respect.
So, the first step is determining your ideal place to work. Identify the companies, the positions at those companies, and the individuals you know who work there. Then, you can start developing the connections that help you stand out from the pack.
Target companies and positions rather than hunting through job boards.
You should only spend about a quarter of your job search online – the rest of the time should be spent networking and targeting.
“Setting up keyword alerts (like the ones you can set on Fairygodboss) and receiving daily emails can be an effective way to use job boards without going into the rabbit hole of pages and search results. A daily email will ensure you see targeted jobs as soon as they are available,” said Alyson Garrido.
You’re sending out a generic cover letter and resume.
Of course, your job search isn’t just a numbers game. You can’t just apply to any position, hoping it will increase your chances of landing an offer. If you’re sending out the same cover letter (with only the company names changed) and resume to each job posting, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
Even if you’re applying to similar jobs at various companies, make sure you’re individualizing each and every cover letter and resume you send. This means you should change your resume’s language to match how the application is worded. Most companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that screen resumes based on how closely the candidate fits the profile.
Tailor your cover letter to demonstrate your enthusiasm for this particular company. In other words, do your homework about the company’s successes and what interests you about working there over any other organization.
Struggling to convey excitement in your cover letter? Then consider how satisfied you’d be if you were offered the position.
Your online presence is lacking.
Many companies will check out your social media profiles – especially your LinkedIn – to see if you exude the same personal brand you did in the interview. So, your online presence must be consistent across multiple platforms, not to mention complete.
“How do your social media profiles look? Are they a mishmash of (public) family photos and some political point-of-view posts? One of the most important aspects of your job search is to ensure that your online presence is up to date and professional,” said Jennifer Parris.
You didn’t understand the company before the interview.
When you are invited for an interview, you should thoroughly understand the company and its values. What is their mission? How would your role fit into the larger company culture?
Failing to do your research about the company will mean that you’re not tailoring your responses to what matters most to them. If the organization prioritizes equity and inclusion, for instance, and you don’t address this in your interview responses, you’ll be less likely to impress the hiring manager.
What’s more, you’ll be less likely to ask smart questions after the interview – doubly hurting your chances.
“So not asking enough questions is a huge red flag to employers and will make them worry that you don’t care what type of job you end up with, you’re desperate and just want any job, or you’re trying to do the bare minimum to get hired,” said Biron Clark.
Streamlining Your Job Search Efforts
If you’ve been applying to jobs for several months but are not receiving the offers you expected, you may want to consider if you’re making one or more of these five cardinal job application mistakes. Remember – more applications are not always better, especially so you can apply only for positions that interest you and individualize each application.
Are your application materials free of these errors but still unsuccessful?
Consider consulting with one of Ivy Exec’s Career Coaches on a new job search strategy.
Sometimes, a second or third pair of eyes can make all the difference in your success.