November 14, 2019
So you’ve been job-hunting for quite some time now.
You heavily revised your resume, shot an email to your former colleagues, and spent every ounce of your energy to make sure your application is free from pesky typos.
Things aren’t clicking. You check your mailbox every day (including the spam folder), but nothing slips by. If things go on like that, you’ll soon end up in a jobless vortex and start living on Ramen noodles.
You’re about to learn what could be hurting your job search and what you can do to flip things around.
Not ATS-Optimizing Your Resume
Here’s the thing:
Most job applicants machine-gun their resumes at whatever comes their way in hopes of getting the callback.
These days, before a resume reaches a pair of human eyes, it first has to go through an ATS (applicant tracking system.)
It’s a special piece of software that rips through resumes, compares them against the job description, and scores them for relevance.
As a result, only the most fitting candidates make it to a recruiter’s review.
Why use ATS? Because the majority of big companies get a mind-boggling 250+ resumes in response to a single job posting and ATS helps weed out bad applicants on autopilot.
So—here’s how to ATS-optimize your resume and make sure you’ll get noticed by recruiters:
First, put the job ad under the microscope and highlight keywords that have to do with duties and required experience.
Next, pepper the keywords from the job ad into your resume summary/objective, skills, and experience sections where appropriate. Also, it’s a good idea to use power words to give your resume some boost.
Do the three, and you’ll be ATS’ best friend.
Pro tip: Don’t keyword-stuff your resume. Once you pass the ATS hurdle, an actual recruiter will check your application. If he thinks you tried to cheat the system, things can go south.
Not Robot-Proofing Your Cover Letter
So far so good.
You know recruiters use ATS to pre-screen resumes.
Did you know that they also let ATS rip through cover letters and check them for relevance?
That’s because most companies use an ATS called Taleo, which treats cover letters just like resumes (according to Jobscan’s research.)
Aren’t cover letters dead in 2019? Not according to the stats.
In fact, around 26 percent of hiring managers still read cover letters and consider them essential when making a hiring decision. Another 56 percent of recruiters want job seekers to attach a cover letter to their resume.
So—to land a job, you need a solid cover letter that’s ATS-tweaked.
Here’s how to do it:
Just like with resumes, scan the job ad and look for keywords, responsibilities and requirements.
Then, sprinkle your cover letter with the keywords excavated from the ad. It’s as simple as that.
Pro tip: If you can afford it, consider test-scanning your cover letter via Jobscan’s premium feature. It’ll help check your cover letter match rate.
Not Having a Killer LinkedIn Profile
Did you know?
A whopping 40 percent of recruiters won’t interview you if they can’t find you online.
So—having a LinkedIn profile is no longer a matter of choice, it’s an absolute necessity.
But if you just create a blank profile, it might have the same impact on your application success rate as a fly on the windshield.
Here are three rapid-fire tips to help you improve your online branding and grab recruiters’ attention:
- Get a custom profile URL. When you first create a LinkedIn account, it’ll come standard with a nauseating mix of characters and numbers that will look bad in your resume’s contact info section. So—make sure to get a custom profile URL.
- Let recruiters know you’re open. If you’d like to land a job without lifting a finger, signal to recruiters you’re looking for a job. It’s as simple as navigating to the Career interests bar in your profile and flipping the switch from Off to On.
- Make your LinkedIn profile hulk-level strong. Once you’re done with the basics, fill your profile out. Write a summary, add certifications, skills, etc. For help, check this guide.
Not Having Experience Under Your Belt
What if you can’t land a job because you’re fresh out of college and you simply don’t have any experience?
If that’s the case, there’s at least a thing you can do to skyrocket your early hireability and show you’re serious about your future career.
It’s a great way to pick up new skills you can put on your resume and get that necessary professional experience that employers seek.
According to 76 percent of career advisers, volunteer work can significantly improve your chances of landing a job. What’s more, 41 percent of recruiters consider volunteer work equal to a paid job (based on a LinkedIn study.)
If you’re a junior candidate, volunteer work can 11x your application success rate.
So—What Do You Think?
There you have it.
A whopping four reasons why you might be failing to get job interviews and what you can do to help it.
What’s your recent experience with job hunting? What job boards do you like to use the most to find juicy offers?
Max Woolf is a career expert at ResumeLab. He’s passionate about helping people land their dream jobs through the expert career industry coverage. In his spare time, Max enjoys biking and traveling to European countries. You can hit him up on LinkedIn.