Q. I’ve applied to over 300 positions, why haven’t I heard back from any companies?
A. Seeing the number 300, many people will think you’re exaggerating; however, the majority of job seekers will know you aren’t. You’ve been quite busy with your job search activity and I am sure you are frustrated with your response rate. The answer to your question takes a full review of what you have been doing.
All job seekers need to evaluate their activity and check the boxes of high, medium and low probability for response or success. This will help determine what to stop doing, start doing, do more or less of, or do differently. Your goal is to get enough positive attention to get a response; right now this is your goal.
So first – do you have a target? Sending out hundreds of emails and resumes to all and any openings will provide you with little success. You must develop a target. Your potential job doesn’t need to be a bullseye, but it does need to have some focus – either in industry or function, and preferably both. Your chance of a response increases with every overlapping area there is between what you have to offer and the requirements the organization is seeking.
Are your cover letter and resume great? Your resume has to showcase what you have to offer. It can’t be just OK. There are resume books – use one. If you can’t access a career consultant through outplacement, a college or university, use the Massachusetts Unemployment Office. It has a full complement of workshops to help prepare your written materials. You may think your resume is OK; if you sent out 300 applications with no response, it probably isn’t.
Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Whether you are a senior professional in financial services or a temp in manufacturing, you need to be on LinkedIn. Take the time to write up a profile. It will be similar to your resume, but you can add more information. LinkedIn has great training materials through its LinkedIn Learning Webinars and the Help Center. Creating an Online Presence on LinkedIn and Job Seekers are worth the time to review.
This will also be the first step you take to understand what your network looks like. Use LinkedIn to connect with people you know well who can speak to your professional qualifications. LinkedIn is the place to start, and face-to-face networking has the highest return on investment over any other job search activity. If your network acted as your field sales team and handed your 300 resumes or applications to human resources, a hiring manager or a person who works at a company of interest, you would have a much higher response rate than you currently do.
Using all of these methods will increase your response rate. After that, you’ll need to develop the next half of the job search skills you’ll need to close the deal!
-Elaine Varelas, Managing Partner, Keystone Partners
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