Q. I’m wondering why it is so hard to get a first interview. After 10 years of experience working in Mexico, I moved here looking forward to better opportunity. However, it seems impossible to get a first interview! Is it impossible to find a job?
A. The screening that takes place in the application process is significant, as employers needed to find a way to sift through the massive numbers of applications and unsolicited resumes they receive on a daily basis. Most employers use online recruiting tools and scan and screen systems. Some still review the old fashion way – one sheet of paper at a time and a bleary eyed recruiter looking for gold in heaps of paper.
Recruiters need to see what you offer quickly and they need to make sure there are no red flags. You recently moved from Mexico, so I expect your recent employers’ addresses are in Mexico. Immediate questions come up on your legal status to work in the U.S. You need to eliminate that question and make sure the information about having the appropriate legal status is highly visible. All employers need to verify legal status and unless recruiters see some fabulous skill that is difficult to find, many will skip candidates that may involve legal cost or visa issues. You need to eliminate any red flags to make it through the screening.
I consulted with recruiting expert Joe Lyons, HR Consultant at MediVector Inc. Joe pointed out that, “Most recruiters will conduct key word searches. Be sure your resume uses the same key words as the job description for the position you are applying for such as administrator, or financial analyst. Joe also noted, “Submitting a resume is only one of the many ways to apply for a job. Since you are new to the area, I would begin a rigorous networking campaign to include professional associations within your expertise. I would also try to make a connection with someone within the organizations you are targeting; build a network.”
Make sure your expectations are in line as well. You may have to send 50 resumes or more to be considered for a first interview and that is for positions where your resume is a perfect match.
Use your language skills to connect with other bi-or multilingual professionals. Target employers with operations in Mexico or perhaps vendors and competitors of your former employers. Make sure your LinkedIn profile has all of your Mexican professional contacts and see who they are connected to in the U.S. Don’t overlook recruiters. Selling yourself in person is typically much more effective than hoping a resume will do that work.