One of the most common problems that today’s young professionals face in their job search is avoiding their resume being lost in the pile, and instead getting shortlisted and contacted for an interview. We’ll apply to job after job, and rarely get the call for an interview. On average, only 2% of applicants get a call for an interview, and the other 98% are never contacted.
We start to get frustrated when we never seem to be in that 2% of candidates who are shortlisted, despite often being perfect for the job we’re applying for. It’s a huge issue since without landing the interview, we have no shot at landing the job. But what is it about our application process, resume and cover letter that just isn’t doing it?
If you’re wondering why you aren’t making the shortlist and wondering why you aren’t getting interviews, you’re not alone. Plenty of job-seekers are struggling with this, and the most frustrating part is knowing you’re great in person, very personable, and would likely ace that interview if you only got one.
Here are five pro tips for making that shortlist more often, which will lead to more calls for interviews and a fast-track to workplace fulfillment:
1. Develop a Professional Cover Letter That You Tweak for Each Job Application
Your cover letter should be well-worded, convincing, and in perfect grammar while also modified for each and every different job application. You’ll want to highlight different strengths and skills for each job you apply for, and your cover letter must be tweaked each time you apply for a job. First, you’ll need to read up on how to write a good cover letter. Then, you’ll want to proofread your cover letter template several times – and have a few friends proof-read it, too. Once you have the perfect template written, you can tweak it for individual job applications.
2. Modify Your Resume Each Time You Apply for a Different Job
Just like your cover letter, your resume should also be modified every time you apply for a different job. You’ll want to make changes to your resume depending on the job you’re applying for, as you’ll always be highlighting different skills, strengths and experiences depending on the employer you’re sending your resume to. First, develop a resume template that is clean-looking, grammatically perfect, and concise. Then, tweak it for each individual job. You’ll also want to move the skills that matter more to this job to the top so that they’re more visible and remove work experience that has nothing to do with the job you’re applying for.
3. Highlight the Most In-Demand Skills and Talents
Each position you apply for will have specific, in-demand skills and talents required of their ideal candidate. Ensure that your resume is modernized and highlights those in-demand skills that you possess – the skills you know this employer requires. If you’re well-versed in a brand-new technology that this company will be using, for example, you’ll definitely want to highlight that.
4. Pay Attention to The Key Words in The Job Posting
The keywords in the job posting are crucial to pay attention to. For example, if the job posting notes that the ideal candidate is a social media expert with copywriting experience, you’ll want to jot down the keywords “copywriting” and “social media” for reference when applying for this job. You’ll need to make sure those keywords that you found in the job posting are repeated and highlighted in your resume and cover letter. When a recruiter, HR Manager, or employer is scanning a resume, they are looking for these keywords.
5. Have an Online Portfolio or Resume
If you’re applying for a creative position or simply want to stand out from the crown, an online portfolio or resume will do the trick. This shows off your design skills and commitment to a craft. Having a blog also helps the human resources team learn more about your personality, writing style, and dedication (check out this list of best blogging advice from top-notch bloggers).
6. Follow Up One Week After Applying
One of the number one things an employer looks for in an employee is passion. If it comes across that you’re passionate about the job opening, the employer will see you as a safer candidate who will be loyal, appreciative and hard-working. They want to see that you are passionate about working with them, and that’s why it’s so important to follow up 1 week after applying to reiterate your interest in the job. This follow-up can be done via e-mail and it should be short and sweet.