Your days are spent filling in lengthy application forms to no avail. So how do you turn things around and make it to the interview stage the next time apply?
Well, unfortunately, there’s no magic formula. Trial and error often plays a part, and other factors for example a shortage of jobs in your chosen field may also be at play. But there are several steps you can take to give yourself the best possible chance of securing a much-needed interview.
Apply for the right roles. This may sound obvious, but often when applicants desperately need a new job they will apply for anything and everything that crops up. This may mean you don’t have the necessary experience for the role, meaning you are immediately discounted. Or perhaps your CV is full of details of your finance experience and you’re applying for a creative role. If so, your lack of enthusiasm may show through, or hiring managers may wonder why you’re considering such a drastic change. Go for quality over quantity, applying only for jobs that are suitable and that you are equipped to do. Make sure your CV supports your application by tailoring it to each position.
Tell them what they want to hear. Your CV may initially be filtered by an electronic system, but the final decision will be made based on a personal interpretation of who you are. It’s important that you engage the reader rather than simply listing your credentials. Explain why you should be hired for this specific role. Use key words from the job description to tick the right boxes. Sell them your skills, experience and personality. A concise paragraph at the start of your CV will provide a useful summary, but your cover letter is your best opportunity to shine. What makes you exceptional? Have you brought an important client on board at your existing company? Won a prestigious award? Had your advertising campaign featured in the national press? Make bold statements that will set you apart. Use positive, upbeat language to explain what drives you personally and in a professional capacity.
Be proactive. It’s easy to fire off applications left, right and centre, but if you’re not proactive you may find that opportunities slip through your fingers. Make a note of each job you have applied for and the closing date. If you haven’t heard anything within a week of the closing date, follow it up. It might be that your application got lost, was accidentally overlooked, or was deemed lacklustre. Calling or even dropping in to the office will show that you are really interested in the role. Doing so will mean the hiring manager is forced to search for – and, if all goes to plan – read through your application. This may well lead to an interview invitation; after all, you’re qualified and keen, and you’re clearly available, making the hiring manager’s job much easier. You may even be offered an interview on the spot, so dress well and be prepared! If you don’t get the nod, ask for feedback and request that your CV is kept on file. You could even suggest the creation of a new role that would significantly benefit the company. Being proactive may also involve networking with key people in your industry, either face to face or via social media. This may be a long game rather than a quick win, but the more contact you have with influential people, the more likely you are to land an interview for a desirable job. LinkedIn is a great place to start if you aren’t already using it.
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Joy Tibbs is a freelance writer and editor regularly who contributes to Premier. Find out more at joyofediting.co.uk and find her on Twitter @joyous25