How to Jump out of the Job Applicant Pool - 5 Secrets from a Hiring Manager

Part 2:

This is part two in a series of blogs I felt compelled to write after hearing story after story from friends and family members about the escalating challenges in the current job search environment. In the first blog I talked about the legions of job-seeking superbots you now have to compete with in every career opportunity you pursue. You may not realize it yet, but your competition are applying for hundreds of jobs using a combination of technology and sweat equity to play the numbers game in hopes of muscling their way into finding work. Seemingly every job posting now has 200, 300, even 500 applicants. The strategy that got you a job three years ago won’t work anymore. It’s a new playing field and it’s getting tougher every year. But rather than lament the situation, we need to change our own game plans and stack the deck back in our favour.

If you haven't seen it already, check out my blog on how to build the perfect resume. Also check out my resume template for Microsoft Word. Its the one I recently used to beat out a ton of competing candidates to land my dream job.

Get my resume template for Microsoft Word.

A Typical Job Search Funnel

A Typical Job Search Funnel

There is a pretty standard five step process a typical applicant needs to go through in order to ultimately get a job offer. It helps to look at each step kind of like a level in a video game. Each level requires its own special set of tactics in order to pass. You need a strategy at each stage or you won’t consistently differentiate yourself enough to get the volume of job offers you want.

I have the benefit of interviewing people virtually every week so I’ve seen the best and the worst job search tactics out there. I’ve compiled a set of strategies for each stage of the job search process that I would use if I were looking for work right now – they’re like cheat codes for finding your next career.

In this blog we’ll focus on stage one – how to jump out of the applicant pool. There are two fundamental issues I see job seekers struggle with at this stage. The first is getting your application or resume seen in the first place. A friend of mine recently applied to 10 jobs on LinkedIn and told me several weeks later only 1 of the 10 applications had even been read. How are you supposed to make those numbers work? This is like a baseball player only getting one at-bat per week and expecting to perform – you need a certain minimum number of opportunities at the plate to give yourself a reasonable chance of hitting a homerun. Thankfully there are a couple tactics I’ve seen that will help you get your applications in front of more eyeballs.

The second issue many of us struggle with is how to differentiate our resume in the event it is actually read. To play the baseball metaphor again this is akin to making a good swing when you finally get a pitch to hit. You can’t hit a homerun if you don’t take a homerun swing. A recruiter I trust recently told me she spends about 30 seconds scanning each resume she reads to create the initial pool of applicants to screen. What do you need to do to make your resume stand out in 30 seconds? I’ve got a great tip that is proven to help you stand out in a pile of resumes.

Here are a few tips the will dramatically improve your success at the first stage of the job search funnel. Adopting these tactics will get you further in the job search process and ultimately improve the probability of getting a great job faster.

1.       Two Tips to Get Your Resume Seen

Use a Multi Touch Approach: If you’re only applying for jobs by sending an email to one person or applying through one channel you’re not maximizing your chances of getting noticed. The most successful job seekers take a multi touch approach to campaign for the jobs they want. Here’s a nice summary of that approach by professional resume writer Michael Howard. Rather than sending your resume to one person and hoping for the best, you need to research a variety of people in the company who might have influence on the job you’re pursuing and reach out to all of them. That list might include HR staff, the hiring manager, the department head, potential peers or even junior people in the department. You can use LinkedIn or the corporate web site to get email addresses and phone numbers for a wider number of potential influencers for the role you want.

Upgrade your LinkedIn account:

While the first tip requires a time investment, this next one requires a financial investment – albeit a small one. There are many differing opinions about the value of a premium LinkedIn account but for the purposes of making your applications stand out, I think it’s well worth it. For about $25 a month you gain access to the “Featured Applicant” status (shown in the picture), which makes all your job applications rise to the top of the pile. This is a massive step to getting more eyeballs on your resume and frankly the $25 per month investment, even when times are tight, is worth it if you land a job a week or a month sooner than you otherwise would.

2.       The Number One Way to Make Your Resume Stand Out in 30 Seconds

Build a Visual Resume:

Also known as an infographic resume or graphical resume, the visual resume is woefully underused despite its incredible power to differentiate a candidate from competing applications. Here are some examples of what I’m speaking about. I’ve probably reviewed a hundred resumes this year and maybe one of them was designed with some visual creativity. If a recruiter or hiring manager has only 30 seconds to review your resume, there is NO better way to stand out than to use this type of eye catching, visually compelling resume. Trading in your old word doc, text based resume for one of these will dramatically increase the number of phone screens and first interviews you get. They don’t guarantee you’ll get an offer, but they will get you farther in the process. There are several sites that will guide you through the process of building a visual resume – this article covers the best of them. Even if you don’t pay for a design service, you can create a very simple one like I did using standard office tools. Just by adding some colour, accents and framing around key points, your resume stands out from the crowd.

Give these tips a try and let me know if your job search improves. Next week I’ll be blogging about some sure fire tips to get past a phone screen.

If you missed the first blog in the series check it out here.

How to Get Your Resume Seen by More Hiring Managers

get your resume seen

I was recently invited to speak at a conference of employment services counselors. It was a great opportunity to meet a group of people who spend their entire lives on the front lines of the job search process. More than most of us, they have a keen understanding of how the job search environment has changed dramatically in the past 5 years. Here is short a clip from the session where I address one of the most important changes you need to make in your approach to improve your chances of finding a great job this year. 

If you want to learn how to build a killer resume that will differentiate you, read my blog post.

Also check out my visual resume template for Microsoft Word. Its the resume template I use and I'm sure it will work well for you too.

Email me or use the comments to let me know how these changes have affected you.

 

5 Secrets from a Hiring Manager - Tactics to Get Noticed and Get the Job

Part 1:

This week I'm going to do a blog series on how you can stack the deck in your favor when looking for work. In this first post I'll set the lay of the land, which I'm sorry to say is quite grim for anyone approaching a job search using conventional tactics. They just don't work anymore. So i if you've been out of work for a while or you just can't shake the feeling that your job search or interview strategy needs tweaking, this blog series is for you.

Before we get started, if you haven't read it already, I highly suggest checking out my blog on building a resume that will separate you from the pack. You should also grab my visual resume template for Microsoft Word. Its the resume template I use. In fact I used it recently to beat out a ton of competing candidates to land my dream job.

Get my resume template for Microsoft Word

Looking for a job is one of the hardest things we have to go through in our professional lives. All of us, at one time or another have to do it. And if you believe the recent statistics, most of us are going be looking for work every couple years from here on in. It sucks. There’s no way around it. And at the risk of rubbing salt in the wound, it’s getting harder every day. The game has changed.

I interviewed a candidate recently who revealed something to me that has had me seriously vexed for a few weeks now. He had applied for 1,100 jobs, received 25 phone interviews, 6 in-person meetings and got 2 offers. ELEVEN HUNDRED?!?! This is what you’re up against these days – job seeking superbots playing the numbers game to get hired. And don’t get me wrong – I commend them for doing it. They’re taking advantage of technology and putting in incredible amounts of time and energy to find work so they can support their families – good for them. But what does this mean for your job search? How will you possibly stand out when so many candidates apply for every job?

The simple answer is ... you won't - not using the same old approach that worked for you even three years ago. Its gotten to the point now where you need very specific and unconventional tactics at every stage of the job search process in order to sufficiently differentiate yourself from the hoards of competitors you're up against for every job. Here are the five phases you have to get through to get a job in most companies:

Phase 1 - Getting Seen: A friend of mine recently applied to 10 jobs on LinkedIn and told me several weeks later only 1 of the 10 applications had even been read. How are you supposed to make those numbers work?

Phase 2 - Jumping Out of the Pool: A recruiter friend of mine told me she spends about 30 seconds scanning each resume she reads to create the first pool of applicants to screen. What do you need to do to make your resume stand out in 30 seconds?

Here's a great blog on this topic.

Phase 3 - Pass the Phone Screen: This is an easy one if you know how to play it but many of us don't know the right tactics to get past the initial screen. How do you make sure to check all the boxes in a screening interview?

Phase 4 - Ace the 1st Interview: Typically this is with the hiring manager. I've done hundreds of these interviews and I've seen some very common mistakes being made. More importantly I have some tips on how to double your chances to get out of the first interview alive with a great chance to get the job.

Phase 5 - Impress at the 2nd Interview: Usually this includes various team members and potential peers in the company. To be successful here you need a special set of tactics to convey the right image and take advantage of the consensus hiring approach.

There is no question the job search is harder than ever and you need to step up your game if you want to improve your chances of getting your dream job. There are specific strategies you need to embrace at each phase of the process to increase the probability of getting deeper into the hiring process. The more often you can get out of the applicant pool and into 1st and 2nd interviews, the more offers you're ultimately going to get.

Check back later this week and i'll give some of my secrets for "Phase 1 - Getting Seen" and "Phase 2 - Jumping out of the Pool".