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Go After the Job You Deserve, Not the Job You Have
If you’re striking out in your job hunt, it could be that you’re aiming too low. Anytime your resume ends up in front of a Hiring Manager, they will wonder why you’re applying for the role. If you have the same job title as the position you’re applying to, they’ll wonder why you’re willing to make a lateral move. Are you a job hopper? If you have a better title then the one you’re applying for, they’ll wonder why you’re willing (or desperate) to take a step back. Is your current title inflated? Are you about to get fired? Even if their assumptions are not accurate, it won’t matter if you never get a call. The ideal job to apply for is one that is step up from your current role because it’s clear that you’re ready to make a move in order to grow your career. You’ll look like a stable, normal candidate going places in your career. Many candidates find they are able to get interviews but do not get offers when they are at the level of or even overqualified for a job. Why? Because chances are the person interviewing and managing the role is afraid you’ll try to take their position. By applying to positions more at your level, the person conducting the interview won’t feel threatened.
This doesn’t mean sending your resume to roles that you are clearly not qualified for. However, if you have the skills but the job title is a step up, go for it.
Put Your Hiring Manager Glasses On
Put yourself in the shoes of a Hiring Manager. Make sure your resume, cover letter and your online presence answers these questions in the way you want to be portrayed so the Hiring Manager immediately wants to pick up the phone and call you.
Who is this person really? A Hiring Manager will use any tool available to find out who you really are including looking at your social media accounts.
What are they looking for in a new role? If your resume is all over the place, a Hiring Manager might be confused about your long term career path with the company.
When did they get into this field and do they have the experience I need? Make sure your resume speaks to your expertise – if you have multiple areas of expertise, tailor your resume to opportunities to avoid a cluttered resume.
Where are they doing now and are they in my area? Make sure your resume includes the most important information on top (like your current job duties) and your city and state. If you’re looking to relocate, include it so a Hiring Manager doesn’t have to wonder why someone three states away applied for the role.
Why should I hire them? Your entire resume to answer this – make sure to note achievements and not just the duties you performed. It’s hard to tell from a list of job duties if you just did the bare minimum or exceeded expectations.
How can I keep them if I hire them? If you’re overqualified for the role (in the eyes of the Hiring Manager) they might be concerned about this. Or, if you look like you’re a job hopper, they’ll wonder if they’ll be able to keep you long term. This is best explained, or addressed, in a cover letter.
Do Your Research and Be Proactive
Unless you want to end up in a company that does not value you as an employee and is not growing or financially stable, its crucial to do your homework. If you’re a discerning employee and want to work for a great, stable employer, research is key. Make a list of companies you’re interested in working for. Then, check out their GlassDoor presence, BBB rating, LinkedIn page and even their Facebook page. Each will give you a different perspective on the company. For example, if you’re looking at sales positions and a company has very negative posts about their products on their Facebook page, it might not be the type of company you want to work for. After all, do you want to try to sell a mediocre product or would you rather sell a great product? Perhaps you’re a software developer, look at places that might have reviews of the software. Or, depending on the role, you can use your research to your advantage. Come to an IT marketing position interview with a game plan in hand on how to improve online image and you’ve set way above the pack and have helped answer the “Why should I hire them” question.
After you’ve done your research, narrow your company list to 5-10 target companies. This is when you should actually make a spreadsheet to track your progress and make sure you follow up. Most positions are filled before the job is actually posted thanks to referrals. Just because a company doesn’t have your dream job listed doesn’t mean they aren’t hiring. Find a real person to talk to at the company (via LinkedIn or even a call in to the HR dept) and give them your resume, letting them know how impressed you were with the company and would love to work there. In case anything opens up, you want to be the first one on their list. Then, make sure to check in just to say hi. Don’t become annoying, a quick message wishing them well or liking a post of theirs is enough to stay topical. They know you asked them about a job, you don’t need to remind them. If something comes up that you would be a fit for, they will reach out because of the relationship you’ve cultivated.
Struggling in your job hunt? A trusted recruiter like the ones we have at PROTECH can be a true asset, even if you just need advice. Providing recommendations for resume improvements and helping you go after jobs that are an excellent fit for your background, great relationship-focused recruiters also get you the best chance at getting an interview and a job offer. We’ve built relationships with leading companies (one of our prerequisites for working with them) and often are filling positions that are not available anywhere else. More information for Candidates can be found in our FAQ’s section.