How many people do you know who have gotten every job for which they applied? Very few, I would imagine. I’m not sure I know anyone who has received an offer of employment for every application they have submitted. For the most part, job search is a numbers game that necessitates applying for far more jobs than you will receive offers from. It takes a lot of no’s before you get to the right yes.
Even in strong jobs market, when the unemployment rates are low, not everyone gets hired for the jobs to which they apply. To complicate matters, more often than not, you will wait for what seems like an eternity before you receive confirmation that you are being considered, let alone hired, for the job you want. And that’s if you hear anything at all.
Today, employers receive on average about 250 or more applications for every job opening. Keeping track of these applications is a giant undertaking. Once an employer finds five supposedly suitable candidates for an opening, they will usually stop filtering through the applications, regardless of how many submissions they have received. The employer might dive more deeply into the applicant pool if they don’t find those worthy applicants right away. In all likelihood, the only people who will hear anything back from their applications are those few who will be interviewed. In essence, this means that approximately 245 job seekers will not hear anything for their efforts. It takes a lot of time, effort and expense for an employer to send out even a basic form letter of rejection and “thanks for applying” to everyone who applies to all their openings. If you aren’t being legitimately considered for the opening all you will hear is crickets.
And that sucks!
Crickets are a wonderful background sound to a walk in the park, but not so much when you’re applying for work. So how do you increase your chances to actually get a response from an application? Follow these simple tips to increase your chances for consideration.
Make sure your submission is letter perfect, and sent to the correct person. This may take some research, but a direct communication between applicant and hiring manager or decision maker is far better than a generic submission to general in-box. Don’t just look for email addresses; uncover their presence on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too.
Apply only to positions that you know you are qualified to fill. Sure, it’s nice to try to be and do more than what you’ve done in the past, but employers may not immediately recognize the relevance between what you’ve done before and what you hope to do in the future. If granted an interview, you might be able to express interests in other positions, but since you got the interview you should focus primarily on the job you applied for.
Ensure that your application materials are specifically targeted to the position you are trying to fill. Make certain that your accomplishment statements and other content accurately reflect your ability to do the job, and that the skills you highlight are needed and valued by the targeted employer. Whenever possible use the same buzz words from the job announcement in your application materials to help convey the relevance of your experience to the needs of the employer.
Make sure your content is presented in a way that makes it easy for the employer and their HR team to read and find your qualifications; that your Objective contains the name of the position and your content is orderly and ease to parse.
Read and follow all instructions regarding the submission of your application. Employers want to know if their hires can read and follow instructions and this assessment starts with the receipt of your materials.
Let the employer know that you plan to follow up your submission with either an email or phone call. Just because you state this doesn’t mean you’ll actually get through to someone at the company, but it does confirm your motivation to get the job. And if you say you’re going to follow up, be sure to do so.
There are so many reasons why an applicant’s submission can be rejected. And, as a job seeker, you must remember not to take the rejection personally. The employer’s decision to hire someone else may have nothing to do with you. You can make yourself appear qualified in your submissions, but you have no idea who the other candidates are and what they can bring to the employer.
Job search is all about succinctly and accurately conveying how your skills and experience meet the employer’s needs. As such, applicants must do everything they can to set themselves apart from other candidates so they appear the most viable and valuable as a hire. If they can’t do that, then all they will hear is crickets.
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