In this era where there are still over a million jobless claims each week, there are plenty of jobs to be had, but you may be self-sabotaging your ability to land one. 

Job seekers these days are feeling hopeless and defeated.  

Yes, even in the age of Covid, job boards seem overrun with job ads and opportunities. So, you throw your hat in with the other 465 applicants for one job and cross your fingers that you’ll somehow stand out.  Are you confident you are doing everything you can as a job seeker to ensure that you do?

Let’s be real here. We all know that most company’s postings right now are for pipelining – A fancy term used in recruiting that means the recruiter thinks he/she might be needing to fill a position (or maybe it’s a high turnover position), so he/she is testing the candidate waters/hoarding resumes for when the time comes that the position needs to be filled, OR the company is bracing for a Covid recovery and needing people right away as soon as that happens.  Neither is a horrible situation for a job seeker to find his/herself in (though the first can mean longer response times if you are even a good fit.)  However, whether you will be called for an interview can be greatly increased if you follow these guidelines:

As a best practice, keep your search to jobs posted within the last 3-5 days.
Yes, this will mean treating your job search like a full time job and being diligent every day when looking for new postings. Because of the massive influx of unemployed people right now, by day 3 there may be hundreds of applicants. Even if you could stand out, you probably won’t by the time the recruiter makes it to your resume (IF they ever make it.) If the job board shows you the number of applicants, move on if it has surpassed more than 100. Studies show that only 2% of applicants are selected for an interview, so by the time there have already been 100, most likely, the company has already narrowed it down to who they are most interested in. Now, I am not saying to NOT apply to said job here.  My goal is to help you use your search time to apply for jobs that you actually have a good chance of getting. One where hundreds of candidates have beaten you to the punch isn’t your best bet. 

Don’t apply to everything that strikes your fancy.  Also, if the phrase, “I think I could do that!” crosses your mind, keeping moving (unless the ad specifically states experience is not necessary.) Recruiters know what they are looking for…in fact, really good recruiters will find YOU, and not the other way around, so if your qualifications and skills that match the job posting are not clearly defined on your resume (and that resume isn’t posted on career websites), don’t expect the recruiter to read between the lines. Also, applying to jobs that you are not qualified for clogs up the whole process for the recruiters and hiring managers to find the perfect match (which will be YOU for a company one day), delaying on-boarding.

For the love of Pete, put some effort into your resume.  One size does not fit all. Especially if you are trying to change career paths or try a new industry. You will have to help the recruiter immediately see your value. Additionally, you will need to create different variations that will be better applicable to the different jobs for which you are applying. No hiring manager wants to see a resume for If you aren’t sure how to use keywords or skill phrases that translate across industries (or anything about a resume at all), enlist the help of an agency recruiter (like those at Iannarino Fullen Group). They can help guide you on what content you should put on your resume, how to format it (busier and more colorful IS NOT BETTER), how to stand out from the crowd and offer insights as to what recruiters and hiring managers look for on resumes. And the best part? It’s absolutely free. And you may come away with a job from it. Be sure to find the right agency for the industry you want to work in – many agencies specialize in only a few areas. Also, if anyone – recruiter, friend, the Dalai Lama himself – tells you to put a picture on your resume, run the other direction. Fast.

I say, if you are a good writer, ABSOLUTELY include a cover letter. Or at the very least, a really good summary section on your resume that gives insight into not only your experience, but your personality. As a hiring manager, if a cover letter includes humor or relevant anecdotes, is very well written (gives me insight into the applicant’s communication skills) and is relevant to the position I am hiring for, then I am 100 times more intrigued.  In fact, even if the experience on the resume is less than I desire, I may choose to give the applicant an interview simply because of the cover letter.

Don’t even think about “Applying to All”. I beg of you, stay away from AI job boards that allow you to create a job profile which allows you to “Apply to All” jobs of a certain criteria. If I could find the person who created this, I might start forwarding all unqualified resumes on one of my job posts his way. I think this functionality can even be confusing and embarrassing for the job seeker. For example: 

Me: “Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m calling from Iannarino Fullen Group and you applied for our business development representative position on XYZ job board.”

Applicant: “Oh, I did?? Where are you located?”

Me: “Biltmore area in Phoenix.”

Applicant: “Arizona??? Oh, sorry.  I live in Florida and I’m not looking to relocate. Also, I actually am looking to be in fast food sales and not staffing sales.”

(Me: :/, this candidate lacks attention to detail)

Each time I ask the candidate how they found my job in this case, the response is, “Oh, I just hit ‘Apply to All’.” I mean, I totally get why this was created; however, my advice to you, if you are going to use it, is to make sure that your job profile is as complete as you can make it. Yes, this might narrow your search results, but it’ll keep you from looking like someone who is too lazy to research and apply to jobs that match your skills. Lastly, do go back and check out the companies that the bot submitted you to at least daily.  This will help you refine your search criteria if you are getting results for places that you do not want to work.

Think outside of the job posting box. Visit the websites of the companies you want to work for. Highly desirable places (or very large companies) to work do not always post their jobs on job boards because they generally do not have a difficult time with applicant flow. Try doing a bit of research on the companies in the industries you are most interested in and visit their career pages to apply directly. Additionally, using your social media networks to let your friends, families, former coworkers and customers know you are looking for a new opportunity. Some experts say between 70-85% of jobs are found through networking. Let that sink in. 

It’s easy to see why job seekers are frustrated with the lack of response from the hundreds of resumes they submit over the timespan of job hunting. However, knowing that much of the process is in your control on the front end can help squelch fears. If you spend quality time revamping your resume, focusing only on positions you qualify for and that have been recently posted, using your social networks and potentially employing the assistance of a recruiter, you’ll find that your job seeking time is more productive and produces better outcomes!