Why is my job search failing?

  | James Innes

     

Sometimes people spend ages looking for a new job, and yet either fail to get any interviews, or get interviews and yet never land the job. If you fall into either category, then you need to take remedies and change your approach.

Firstly, if you are not getting interviews, then there is probably something wrong with your Resume. Start with the basics. Have you proofread and used a spell checking. Statistics show that 60% of all Resumes contain at least one linguistic error. Make sure yours is not one. Is the document correctly formatted, with the use of professional fonts, appropriate spaces, alignment, bullet points and section orders. Remember, the average recruiter spends less than 30 seconds reviewing a Resume; if your document does not look attractive it will be rejected out of hand.

Now let’s look at the detail.

Your Resume should begin with a clear professional profile that outlines your key skills and experience, and career objectives? This may be the only part of a Resume that an employer actually reads during their initial review, so it needs to be both striking, and relevant, to the potential employer.

Outline your career history in reverse chronological order, with the most recent position first. After all, this is likely to be the role most relevant to the position you are applying now, and, therefore, of most interest to a potential employer. The older you get, or the more positions you have held, the less relevant become jobs you have had at the start of your career. Also, do not focus on responsibilities but achievements, quantified where possible. Employers are looking for candidates who can add value. The best guide they have as to whether you can do this is proof you have already done this elsewhere.

Most Resumes should not be longer than 2 pages, although professions like medicine and academic Resumes are an exception. This means there is no room for superfluous detail. In most countries, adding your photo to your Resume is not recommended, and as many parts of the world have legislation in place to prevent discrimination on the grounds of age, ethnic background, sexual or religious persuasion, and political belief, anything that provides details on any of these is not needed on your document and is just taking up valuable space.

References should also not be listed on your Resume either. Apart from the wider debate as to whether references now hold any value given many employers fear of providing more than basic information about an ex-employee because of the fear of subsequent litigation, the time to provide the names of referees is when you have actually been offered a job, not at the application stage.

Finally, if you list hobbies and interests, don’t document too many. You may have a rich and fulfilling private and social life, but don’t imply that you are not too busy to work!

How does your CV stack up now? Does it need an overhaul? If so, try re-writing it with these criteria in mind. Get somebody else to have a look at it and give you honest feedback. Consider using the Free CV Review service of a company like The Resume Centre, to get a quick health check on your document.

Alternatively, employ the services of a professional writing company like The Resume Centre, who have years of experience in crafting winning Resumes for their thousands of clients all over the world.

The other scenario is where your Resume is getting you interviews, but you just can’t land the job. In this case it would suggest there is something wrong with your interview technique.

Interviews are an inherently stressful experience for many people. However, with careful planning and preparation, a lot of the fear can be taken out of the equation. An old army adage talks of the 6 P’s – Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Yet many people fail to do any form of preparation for an interview at all. 50% of all candidates who get an interview for a job have done no research at all about the potential employer or the industry in which they work. Just doing a modicum of research about the company, industry, and, if you can find it out, the person who is going to interview you, will put you ahead of half the other candidates from the get-go.

Interviews normally follow a broadly similar pattern. The employer asks you questions about your experience, tries to get some feel for your character and motivations, and whether you would fit with their organisation. They, in turn, usually encourage candidates to ask a few questions of their own, which is the chance an applicant has to bring out, subtly, any strengths the interviewer may have overlooked. While you may not know exactly in advance what type of questions you will be asked, there are some questions that you will almost inevitably be asked in what form or another?

·       Tell me about yourself

·       Why have you applied for this job?

·       Why do you want to leave your current job?

·       Why do you want to work for this organisation?

·       What are your strengths?; and “What are your weaknesses?

·       What have been your greatest achievements?

·       What can you bring to this job over the other candidates?

·       Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?; and

·       Do you have any questions for us?

Prepare answers for each of these questions before every interview. It will give you more confidence when you get in the interview situation and, if you can avoid sounding like a parrot, so much the better!

If you are not sure how to answer such questions, then James Innes, the Founder of www.resumecentre.ca has written 2 best-selling books on the subject, The Interview Book and The Interview Question & Answer Book.

Finally, like many things in life, the more practice you get at interviews, the better you will get at them. So consider applying for job that you don’ want just to get the interview practice. Ask a friend or family member to help you with mock interviews. And, if you still need help, www.resumecentre.ca provides professional coaching with trained interview coaches who can give you valuable advice on how to improve your interview delivery and performance.

If you are struggling with your job search, then make sure both your Resume and interview technique are up to standard. There is no magic bullet which will improve things but planning, preparation and hard work. If you are prepared to put the effort in to make the necessary improvements, you will get your reward in the end in the form of that new job you want.