What are the best ways to get a job interview these days? In this economy, I am often asked to how long clients should expect to be in transition. They are often surprised by my answer. It seems to me that because we keep hearing that the economy is slowly getting better, we are lulled into a false sense of security that the job search process isn’t as difficult as it has been for the past few years.
According to the Economic Policy Institute Article from November 2012, while the job seekers ratio has held steady at 3.4 job seekers to one job opening, any number over three means that that there are “no jobs available for two out of three workers.” I also found it very interesting that the same report states that job seekers far outnumber job openings across every sector. Couple this with persistently low hiring and we are finding that unemployment lengths remain unusually high.
Given this less than wonderful news, what can you do to ensure that you are taking all necessary steps to avoid becoming one of the long-term unemployed? Step one is the resume, however, that is merely a step. It’s not the whole job search.
Best Ways To Get An Interview
Knowing that you are likely one of many applicants, how do you get “noticed”? There are a few steps that you can follow to greatly increase your odds of landing that interview.
Breaking down my favorites, David Letterman style, here are my top 10 ways to get an interview:
10. Be Specific
Develop a list of specific target companies that you can identify to those with whom you are networking. For example, if you say, “I want to work in engineering,” that doesn’t really get my brain working. However, if you say, ” I want to work for XYZ company in an engineering capacity, namely leading a team of hardware engineers,” that helps me to a) understand what you are looking for and b) start thinking about who I may know at XYZ company.
9. Know Your Strengths
Knowing what you bring to the table and clearly articulating it sets you apart from the masses right away. Often, people are not clear on what they can do to specifically help a company. Hiring companies want to know what you can do for them… it helps to answer that question well.
8. Research Your Target Companies
Know those companies that appeal to you and appear to be a great fit. If you don’t know about the company or if you don’t really want to work there, it typically shows in a conversation. If you are excited about the potential of working for the company and you have clearly done your research that will make you extremely appealing and different from the rest.
7. Develop A Resume That Stands Out From The Rest
I have seen great resumes and terrible resumes.What makes a great resume? Clearly defining what problems you will solve for the company and adjusting the resume based on the job available are two important factors.
6. Develop Marketing Material
What can you leave with a new contact that sets you apart from the other people they have talked with? Professional business cards are a must but what about a biographic? This doesn’t replace a resume but is rather a marketing piece that visually tells the story of your job history.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Call The Hiring Manager
Be assertive. If you know who the hiring manager is, call him/her and briefly state that you have applied for the position. Take the opportunity to alert them to this and let them know that if they took ten minutes to meet with you, they would find you a viable candidate. The worst thing that can happen is that you get turned down.
4. Don’t Rely On Job Boards
Not that you cannot find a job utilizing a job board but statistics show that 90% of jobs are never posted (which is why #2 is what it is) and those that are posted are swamped with job seekers taking the traditional, ineffective route.
3. Create Your Brand Utilizing Social Media
Develop your brand as an industry expert using LinkedIn and, if you’re brave, Twitter. Post professional, relevant articles that are pertinent to the type of jobs in which you are interested.
I can’t say this strongly enough. The best way to make it to the top of the resume pile is to network. Your goal is to have someone hand the resume to the appropriate person and say, “I think we need to look at this person.”
1. Follow Up
Networking and all the other steps are worthless without following up. Be persistent without being obnoxious. Ask your contact how best he/she likes to be communicated with and how often. Respect that they have their own priorities but don’t give up if they don’t respond immediately.
While nothing can guarantee an interview, taking a proactive, professional approach will certainly increase your odds. What are some tips I may have missed? I would love to hear from you!
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