This post is courtesy of Amy Oviedo.

Job Seeker’s Life:

You applied for the role. Spent hours on the perfect cover letter and this is the 301st edit of your resume. You meet all the qualifications. You wait. And you wait. And you get discouraged. And you rewrite your resume. You worry that your cover letter isn’t quite right. You keep refreshing your email and checking your voicemail. The call never comes.


Rinse. Repeat. The call never comes.


Recruiter’s Life:

You posted the role. You waited 3 days. 78 applications came in including 3 referrals from your existing team, 1 person who was a runner-up the last time around, and 1 resume that the IT Director dropped on your desk.


You start calls with the 4 referrals and the runner-up. 2 of them are perfect and you expedite them through the recruiting process. In the meantime, you start reviewing candidates for all the other roles you’re managing.


Fast forward 2 weeks. The hiring team is ready to make an offer to one of the referral candidates. You have 4 regret calls to make to the other referral/runner-up candidates and you’re actively working on 14 other searches. You have an accepted offer and you decide to do a quick regret note to the 78 applicants whose profiles you never even opened. 50% of those notes end up in junk mail so there are 37 people sitting around saying, “The call never came.”


Why does this keep happening?

There are so many reasons this can happen and above is only one example – there are plenty of stories with the same outcome unfortunately. As a job seeker, you need to find a way through and around the curtain to begin getting those calls more frequently. Below are four things to consider as you revamp your career search for better results.


  1. Recruiters are overworked.

This is not your problem. Yet, it’s happening and it’s keeping you from getting your resume reviewed. Consider how you can get your resume to the top of the stack for roles that you are really interested in pursuing. Use LinkedIN to find out who the likely hiring manager and/or recruiters are for the role you’re interested in. Go ahead and fill out the online application and then reach out to those people to introduce yourself and find another way in the door. Call the front desk and ask for an update. It won’t always work but often, it will prompt someone to look you up in the applicant system long enough that they are now looking at your resume.

Boom. Someone is looking at your resume.


  1. Cover Letters are Dead.

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that no one is reading your cover letter. Save yourself the time and redirect that freed up time to looking for more opportunities and networking to move your resume to the top of the stack. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. Some companies will ask you for a cover letter specifically, prioritize those and have a quick template you can use to accomplish that task in 10 minutes or less. Remember, your resume and cover letter combined are going to be looked at for less than 30 seconds so make it brief and be sure the info you want to highlight jumps off the page when you glance at it on a screen.


  1. Resumes need to be optimized for online applicant tracking systems and skimmers.

You don’t need to hire a resume writer although there are plenty of services available if you have the means to outsource this task. If you’re still using your college-formatted resume, start over. You can re-use some of the content but it’s probably outdated. I highly recommend a skills-based resume that allows you to make quick edits to ensure that your resume highlights the information matching the position requirement you’re answering. Use a friend for help. Hand them your resume and a red pen. Ask them to circle the first 5-10 things they see without telling them why. Use white space, bold, italics, and formatting to ensure the top skills you have are clearly visible to the person reading your resume. Second, be sure that the keywords and synonyms you would search for the job are duplicated in your resume.


  1. The law of numbers.

Less than .5% of applicants are ever hired for published roles. I know it’s daunting to be a job seeker. The reality is that if less than 1% of people are hired for roles, 90+% are given less than 10 seconds of consideration. If that’s true and you’ll just have to trust me… it is true, you need to be applying for 100+ roles in order to find 1 in a normal job search timeframe. If you’re networking and getting your resume to the top of the stack more often, you can likely bring this number down. Bottom line – Cast a wide net!


Job Seeker’s New Life:

Job searching is hard work and it’s hard to know what is working and what is not. The reality is that updating your resume again or writing another cover letter aren’t likely to move the process forward.


Take a pause and change your approach – reallocate your time to finding more options to which you can apply. Then apply through more than one method to each with less emphasis on the perfect documents or perfect role and more time spent networking with people who can help you get noticed.


Now that you’ve seen a glimpse behind this Recruiter’s curtain, use the information to reshape your job search strategy. You got this!


Bio: Amy Oviedo is the Founder of Recruiting Experiences. She founded Recruiting Experiences for the job seekers frustrated by lengthy interview processes without meaningful feedback and for the companies who are struggling to communicate and hire quality candidates when they need them most. After a 20+ year career in Corporate Recruiting, Recruiting Experiences is now training new recruiters interested in building a new career path as Recruiters who show up with kindness.

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