It can be frustrating. You take the time to find a job opportunity that you are interested in, read about the company, write a resume and cover letter, and fire off your application full of hope and ambition. And then… nothing. The vast majority of job applications receive no response at all.
Sometimes you get an automated thank-you email, which is nice. At least this lets you know that your application was received. Often however, you don’t even get that. A small fraction – it’s estimated to be about 2 per cent – of job applications actually lead to interviews.
Here are ways that you can boost your odds of reaching the next step in the recruitment process with your job applications.
Only apply to jobs for which you qualified. This doesn’t mean that you have to have every skill, credential, and year of experience listed in the job description. Studies have found that you need about 50 per cent of the qualifications for a job in order to be interviewed. However, employers report that as many as 75 per cent of applications they receive are from candidates who aren’t remotely qualified for the job.
Don’t be one of those. Limit your job applications to those roles for which you have at least most of the credentials and that you are reasonably confident that you can be successful at.
Customize your keywords. You know about Applicant Tracking Systems by now right? Because employers receive so many unqualified applications, many are using software to filter out resumes that don’t contain the essential skills and credentials that they are looking for. Applications that don’t include the keywords that the ATS is screening for are rejected without ever being read by a human recruiter.
To avoid getting filtered out, make sure that try to match the wording in your resume to the language used in the job description. Of course, you won’t know exactly what the software has been programmed to look for, so the best evidence you have is the phrasing from the job as itself.
Here is some more details on getting your resume past Applicant Tracking Systems.
Demonstrate how you can excel at the job. Okay, so, you’ve applied for a job that you are at least mostly qualified for – so you won’t be one of the 75 per cent rejected for lack of qualifications. You’ve also tailored your keywords so that you are less likely to be screened out by the software filters.
But even of the qualified resumes that employers actually read, only a small number manage to score job interviews for the candidates. How can you boost your odds of being among the successful few?
Employers want to hire someone who will make their lives easier. So, your resume should demonstrate how your past successes indicate what you can accomplish for them. Don’t just list your work duties and tasks, but rather focus on your achievements. Make sure to communicate to the employer the added value that you specifically brought to your role. How you stood out on the job in a way that a similarly qualified candidate might not have. Make sure that you describe these achievements in such a way as to highlight their relevance to the challenges of the job you’re applying to.
Here is some help with that. How to turn your duties and responsibilities into accomplishments on your resume.
With these three tweaks to your job applications, you have a better chance of your resume being read by a hiring professional at the company you want to work at. They will see that you are qualified for the job and that you have a track record of significant accomplishments that can help their team to succeed. Those are the candidates who get called for job interviews.