You see a job posting and apply, only to never receive a call back. Or maybe you interviewed with the employer or recruiter, but never proceeded to the next round. At this point, many job seekers may ask, “I’m the perfect candidate, why didn’t I get the job?” One important thing to note is that there may never be a “perfect candidate”. However, there should always be a right match for the job. Before you assume that you are the right match for every job you apply to, consider the following tips to find out if you are really:
1. Make sure your skill set and previous experience are a close match to the job requirements
Let’s say the client is looking for a Java candidate with a Bachelor’s Degree, 5+ years of experience, extensive Web UI experience, Software Development Life Cycle knowledge, and at least 1 year of experience working in the financial services industry in a Java role. Chances are, if you do not have all of these qualifications, you likely won’t be considered the right match. Many times you may only look at the title of the position and hit ‘apply’. However, it’s important to thoroughly read through the job description to make sure you meet all, or almost all, of the requirements listed.
2. Check that your resume effectively sells your skills in a concise and compelling manner
Your resume is your first impression. It should be concise, easy to read, and highlight your most important and relevant accomplishments and previous experience. While you may have extensive experience in your skill set, it’s not likely that a recruiter, nor hiring manager, wants to read through a seven page resume in order to determine if you are the right fit for the job. Have a friend or colleague read over your resume and ask them if it captures their attention immediately. If your resume doesn’t catch the attention of a recruiter or employer within the first 30 seconds, search for better ways to make your resume stand out.
In addition to listing your skills and experience, be sure to sell yourself by describing the value provided with those skills. For example, you may want to mention that you “completed the project four weeks ahead of deadline and 500K under budget due to strong project management and organizational skills”.
3. Know your competition and what makes them highly marketable
When a staffing firm works with an employer, they may list five specific requirements in a job posting that are “must-haves.” While there may be 100 candidates who will apply that meet and or exceed these minimum requirements, you should asses how you will stand out amongst the competition. Certifications, letters of recommendation, and specialized hands-on experience could nudge you to the top of the qualified short-list of applicants, so be sure to include those on your resume or inform your recruiter of the “extras” that set you apart.
4. Take time to research the company
If you’re applying to a multi-billion dollar, global corporation, but have only worked at small, start-up companies, you may not be considered an ideal fit for the job. It is important to not only make sure you are the “right fit” for a particular job opening, but a fit for the company as a whole. Consider the size of company, industry, specific technologies and see which traits you may have in common. If you have been working in a smaller company and are looking to make a move into a corporate role, speak with your recruiter or mention in your cover letter or resume what elements have prepared you to work in a larger environment.
When applying to jobs, what have you done to stand out amongst the competition?!