Q: I have applied for hundreds of jobs over the past few months. I spend hours online every day and apply to jobs posted on job boards. I know early on my resume did not look great. I think I have fixed it and it looks better. I have been given a lot of feedback, some helpful, but a lot of it is not helpful. What else should I be doing?
A: Job hunting can be exhausting and full of starts and stops and disappointments. As a job hunter, you may think your search is a top priority (and it should be!). However, the rest of us have 101 other priorities on our desks, including your candidacy, but not limited to your candidacy.
Job boards are a good source of job leads, but they should not be your only source! Personal and professional connections can be helpful too. Your alumni organizations can be a resource as well. Targeting specific employers may be a good tactic, especially if you are focused on a specific industry.
Here are some additional recommendations –
- Your resume should be flawless. No typos, no sloppy alignment issues, no mish-mash of fonts. Have another set of eyes review your resume in case you don’t catch your own mistakes. We still see a lot of “mangers” vs. “managers” on resumes. Spellcheck doesn’t catch everything!
- Customize your resume when appropriate. I am shocked at the number of candidates who fail to do this. Your professional work history may be attractive to many employers. However, if you have some of the most relevant information embedded in the bottom of your resume, that is a missed opportunity. If leading teams is critical, make sure this experience is at the top of your resume! If you are a marketing professional and you are applying for a product manager role, customize your resume to highlight these skills! One resume may not be appropriate for all opportunities. Please don’t read this advice as being deceptive. A resume should always represent a job seeker’s background honestly, but you can certainly emphasize specific qualifications over others.
- Be more selective. Don’t just apply haphazardly to opportunities. I call this the “throwing spaghetti on the wall” technique. Be more strategic. Think about companies, roles and contacts that should be part of your job-hunting plan.
- Be flexible. Consider contracting, temping or exploring new industries. If you limit yourself to one industry, one type of role, then you will be limiting new opportunities.
- Be visible on LinkedIn. We find candidates on LinkedIn almost every day. Make sure that your profile has a professional headshot and you include keywords in your profile. We often find candidates using a keyword search.
- Realize that the summer is a bit more sluggish. Vacations certainly can delay hiring processes and offers.
- Finally, as my Mother used to say, send a thank-you note. A thank-you note can differentiate you as a candidate. Whether you received a job offer or not, send a thank-you note or email to anyone who met with you or interviewed you.
Lastly, you will land. It Is hard to be patient, but you will land.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.