Are you applying for jobs and not receiving a response from the recruiters?
Knowing what is going on is the first step to fixing what’s wrong and turning things in your favor. Job hunting is hard and tedious, but by using this simple troubleshooting guide, you can diagnose the reason for the silence that follows your applications and get right back on track.
With the New Year approaching, it might be just what you need to gain control and take advantage of the increased recruiting activity that usually happens in the first quarter of every year.
Here are 4 reasons why your job applications are not generating the reaction you expect:
#1) You application is not focused to a role or a company- skill set mismatch
#2) Your resume is not passing the 10-second scrutiny
#3) Failure to do as told
#4) Reasons beyond your control
Let’s look at this list to learn how to fix your job application problems and get more interview calls.
What You Will Learn:
Reason #1: Untargeted job hunting
If I ask you “What role are you aiming for?”
Is your answer:
- Any testing job
- Any job in the XYZ area in the IT industry in so and so pay range
- QA job
- Test manager or test lead- if you have just graduated.
None of these are good answers; this is like googling food when you want a lasagna recipe.
Not knowing what role you want to go into and without a list of prospective employers that you want to work for, you are on a wild goose chase.
When your job application is not targeted and focused, you are applying for any or all the jobs that remotely match your skills and end up getting nothing in return.
Take some time in creating that self-awareness by asking the following questions:
- What level of a QA am I?
- What role am I looking for? If you are shifting positions, know if you are willing to start from the bottom and start working from there? Or do you want to get the necessary training and/or certification to target a senior or mid-level role?
- What skills do you want to carry forward, what do you want to discard?
- Is there a company that you aspire to be a part of?
- With my skills, what jobs am I fit for?
- What is the primary reason for job hunting? Better pay, better position, better work location, etc. – know why you are in the market.
Knowing the answers to these questions will narrow your choices and improve clarity, so you are not simply driving around but have a specific route to your destination.
Reason #2: Ineffective Resume
Resume writing is an important survival skill for a successful professional life.
Follow these simple rules:
1) Write a resume that is targeted to the role you are applying.
2) Remove things that do not relate to the current role or job you are applying for. For example: If you gave music lessons in the past, that information need not be on the resume.
3) It is not an autobiography, so do not write everything.
4) At the same time, do not feel the need to hide your gaps, age, education, GPA or anything else that you suspect are not your strong points. You don’t want to be working for people who have such narrow perspectives anyways. But the choice is yours.
If you strongly don’t want to talk about some aspect of your professional life, you don’t have to put it on the resume.
5) Remember that the more experience you gain, your resume has to be become proportionally shorter, highlighting your achievements. Come off as a leader and not a doer.
Check out Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s resume here.
6) Do not feel tempted to exaggerate or outright lie about your skills and extent of expertise.
7) Create a clean, error-free and easy to read the resume. If you find your writing skills lacking, read: “The Elements of Style”- by William Strunk Jr (Author).
8) Technical skills do not compensate for grammatical shortcomings. Read this: I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar
9) Maximize the use of keywords related to your field in your resume.
10) Don’t take a cookie-cutter format and fill in your details. Format your data in a way that your content gets highlighted. Remember, content sells, not the format.
11) Avoid using flamboyant fonts, backgrounds, margins, headers, etc.
12) Get your resume reviewed by at least two other people in the related field. It is better if these reviewers are not those offering free resume critiques on popular job sites. They are surely good, but they do it for a living and will always find something they could fix for you.
So a friend, a family member, a colleague or a mentor might be a better choice.
13) Include a cover letter with your resume even when it is optional. Especially, if you there are things you want to explain to the recruiter that are not part of the resume
For more tips and how-to guides on resume creation and refinement, check out:
- The Beginner’s Guide to Writing a Perfect Software Testing Resume (with Free Sample Resume)
- New Emerging Trends in the Job Seeking Market – Shorter Resumes
- 5 Refining Tips for A Ninja Resume – 5 Minute Resume Makeover
Reason #3: Not doing as told
People are quirky, companies are quirky too. So, if a job application comes with a set of do’s and don't, it is important to follow those.
To do so, first read the job ad thoroughly. And,
- If a job ad specifically says- include a cover letter telling us why you want to work with us, sending just a resume is an automatic disqualifier.
- When the skills are listed as mandatory and desirable, don’t apply for the job if you do not satisfy the mandatory skills.
- If a job says- ‘if you do not live in the SFO area, don’t apply’. Don’t apply if you don’t live in San Francisco
- If a company site wants you to enter all the education and work experience details – do so. Do not skip all the steps and simply upload the resume and expect to be called.(I know it takes too long and asks you to fill details that you can barely recollect and it is quite boring- but this is one of the things that we have to go through if the company is on our wish list of places we want to work)
- If you are asked not to call with inquiries- do NOT call.
Respect the rules irrespective of how compelled you feel about your suitability for the role.
Reason #4: Sometimes, it is not you
You might do everything right, but things still might not work out. Sometimes, it is not your fault.
- A job ad might just be a way for consulting companies to understand the kind of candidates currently in the market. There might not be a real opening.
- After the job ad is posted, the company might decide to not fill that position after all for budget and other reasons.
- The position might be filled already internally, but placing the ad might be a simple formality as per the company’s process.
In any of these cases contributing to reason 4, there is nothing for us to do, but simply move on.
A quick diagnostic checklist:
- Are you applying for a job that fits your experience after matching the skills carefully?
- Is your resume ready to go? Spell checked, formatted and targeted to the job applied to.
- Did you include a cover letter?
- If submitting online on the job portal/site, did you fill all the details and create your complete profile?
- If there are additional rules for application, have you followed them all?
- Did you do all that you could to make this job application complete and effective?
If the answers to these questions are a YES, then you are in a good place.
Wait for the phone to ring and the email to land in your inbox. Great things are ahead.
All the best!
About the author: These tips are provided by STH team member Swati.
Thank you for reading and I hope this article was useful to you. Please share your job hunt secrets and tips with us. Let us know your comments and questions below. All the best!