Do you ever feel like your job applications have gone into a black hole? If so, you’re not alone. It’s frustrating not to hear back from a prospective employer. However, for employers, it is frustrating to sort through numerous applications in the hopes of finding a needle in a haystack: the candidate who best fits their needs.
The good news is the job seeker can help expedite this process, producing better results for everyone. Once you’ve identified a job to apply for, your main goal should be to make it clear to a potential employer why you are a great fit.
What can help you stand out from the crowd? A recent study of job search data by Indeed revealed a five-part formula for success:
1. Be selective – If there is one take-away, this is it. The most important thing you can do to improve your chances is to carefully evaluate each job you’re applying for to ensure a good fit. When you find an attractive posting, ask yourself: 1) Are you qualified to do the job? and 2) Do you actually want to do this job?
2. Narrow down your search -- While it may feel like applying for lots of jobs increases your chances of getting a job – this is not necessarily the case. In fact, our research shows that people with the highest number of applications were far less likely – 39 percent less likely – to receive a positive response from employers.
3. Screen and apply to each job with care – Quality is more important than quantity. Pour your energy into crafting a few high-quality applications:
- Read the entire job description
- Pinpoint why it’s attractive to you
- Ensure you can demonstrate the required skills and qualifications
- Pay attention to the application instructions
- Carefully read and answer all questions on the application
- Double-check your responses before you submit
4. Stay organized – Successful job seekers approach their search with discipline. Similar to studying for an exam or tackling a tough work assignment, set aside enough time to take your search on step by step. Organize your outreach and keep track of the status of each job application.
5. Keep a clean resume – Have a “clean” resume on hand that you can alter to fit each job application. For example, adding relevant details or emphasizing past experience to fit a specific job. Don’t just start with the last resume you created for a different job.