Did you see that story about the woman who got laid off, tweeted about it, and by the time she reached the parking lot, already had another job offer? Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Unless you’ve been looking for a job so long, it’s starting to feel like, well, your job. If you’ve been sending out dozens of resumes with no response, or going on a lot of first interviews with no calls for second interviews, it may not just be the economy or the employers—it may be you. Reevaluate your job hunting strategy, and be honest with yourself. Are you presenting yourself well? Are you going after the right jobs that fit your skills? Or are you doing one of these three things? If you are, it could be why no one’s calling you back.
Your Resume Lacks Focus
How many resumes do you have? Before you answer that, consider that there’s a difference between an employment history and a resume. Your employment history will never change. But your resume can and should change depending on the kind of jobs you’re applying for. This is especially true if you’re changing careers. First, you need to select your previously held positions that are applicable to the one you’re trying to land now. Then you need to reword those entries to cater even more to the job you’re applying for.
In addition, the longer you’re in the work force, the longer your work history becomes. Most employers don’t want to see a resume longer than one page, two tops. Cut your resume down to the last five years, and indicate that more information is available upon request. If you make the short list, the employer may ask to see more. This is where professional resume writing can be very helpful. A pro will know what to include, and how to word your resume so that it stands out and is targeted at the positions you’re applying for.
You Asked The Money Question Too Soon
I know. It seems counter-intuitive. The entire reason for having a job is to make money to, you know, pay bills and maybe occasionally eat. Sure, you can get a lot of personal satisfaction from the right job. But you could get that same feeling of accomplishment from volunteer work if you were a multi-millionaire who didn’t have to work. So it only seems logical that when you go for a job interview, one of the main things you want to know is how much the job pays. But don’t ask.
Employers could probably save themselves and prospective employees a lot of time and energy if they were up front about how much their positions pay. If you read about a job that pays less than you’re looking for, you probably won’t even bother applying, right? The thing is, most employers are still loath to disclose what they’re willing to pay, at least in the beginning. They want people who want to work for them for reasons other than money. They want people who are motivated by the prospect of making a difference, of working on and completing complicated projects, of simply using their skills and education. Ask the money question too soon, and you may not get a callback for a second interview. Until employers change how they treat this facet of job hunting, you just have to play along to stay in the game.
You Were Overeager
This may be the toughest one to combat. It may be that you’re just starting out in your career, and you’re very excited about all the possibilities ahead of you. Or you may be more experienced, but you’ve been hit hard by the economy, and have been out of work for a while. In either case, appearing too eager in a job interview can make you seem less attractive to the manager doing the hiring.
One of the things employers try to avoid is turnover. Continuity is good for business, so holding on to good employees is important. Employers want you to fit the job you’re hired for just as much as you do. The happier you are at your job, the less likely you’ll be to leave. No employer is going to want to hire someone who’s taking a job just to have one, not because it’s what they really want to do. And employers definitely don’t want to hire someone new to the industry who figures they’ll take the first position they’re offered until something better comes along. They want the same commitment from you that they’re making when they hire you.
Remember to value yourself and your skills when you’re interviewing for a job. Talk about not only what you’re bringing to the table, but what you’re looking for in return. Respecting the position shows respect for the employer, and for yourself.
Leslie Williams is a writer for Jobfox Resumes, the largest resume writing service online. She specializes in using social media to connect to the right job.