Yesterday I posted Part 1 containing five ideas for those looking for work. Today I’m going to focus on what to do when you’re struggling to get interviews. Your chances of getting hired for any given job once you interview are perhaps 1 in 10 (an unscientific estimate). If you’re not interviewing, you’re not in the game.
- If you’re not getting a couple interviews per week ask your recruiter why not. Do they not have openings that fit you? If they don’t, try to figure out why they don’t – are they more .net or Java or whatever focused, lacking clients that use your technology, or just not trying for you hard enough? Or are there truly few openings that fit? Or, are they showing your resume to employers and you’re not being picked? The question to ask is how many times a week they are presenting you as a candidate to someone actively trying to fill a position.
- I’m all for an updated and interesting resume, but having looked at a few hundred I can tell you that there aren’t many that will make an employer go ‘wow’. Read the books on building a resume and get someone to review it (recruiter is ideal), but you can only make it so good. Employers are looking to see if you appear to have the skills and experience they are requesting and filtering based on that to see who they interview.
- If possible submit a cover letter with your resume. I rarely see this done, but it’s a missed opportunity for a couple reasons. One is that so few people do it you will stand out as someone that tries to do things the ‘right’ way and is trying hard. Another is that it gives you a chance to sell the employer on why you would be a good fit. They don’t want a sales pitch, they want you to show them something that they won’t see on the resume. Remember that it’s often less about what you have done in the past than what you can do for them now. The cover letter is the perfect place to include a link to a personal web site or blog that contains code samples, links to articles, etc (make sure it looks good and is current!).
- Make sure you have an online presence and know what it looks like. Set up an account on LinkedIn or Plaxo or Facebook, fill in the major blanks. This can be your only presence, or in addition to the blog/personal web site. Both is better, but if you can only do one participate in one of social sites because you leverage your time. Make sure you search for your name and know what they will find, they will look if you start to appear interesting and what they find might tip the scales either way.
- Don’t turn down any interviews unless you wouldn’t consider the company or location. I have a friend that changed jobs quite a few times during the early part of his career and one of the side effects was that he interviewed a lot – successfully. Practice makes perfect, but most of us get very little practice. Plus, even if it turns out you weren’t a good fit for that position, it’s not uncommon for them to keep you in mind for other openings later on.
Remember, if you’re not interviewing, you have just about zero chance of getting hired. Interviewing and not getting a job doesn’t hurt you, no black mark on your resume!
Tomorrow some tips from the employer perspective.