If you’ve been looking for a job for months, with a resume you worked hard on and a good cover letter, it can be extremely frustrating when your job search isn’t getting any results. You’re more than likely to wonder what’s wrong with your resume – did you leave in a typo you just can’t see? Is there a sudden embargo on hiring people from your alma mater?
The good news is there’s probably nothing wrong with what you’re sending in. There might, however, be something else going on.
Companies that use online keyword filters to look for qualified candidates miss out on plenty of them, as an example of a hidden cause. This is particularly common at larger companies, as smaller businesses are more likely to do the work of sorting through resumes in-house, and using real people. There are millions of other factors that may be in play, too – anything from just not having what companies are looking for to failing to get yourself out there. Here are a few factors to check on when it seems like your job search is spinning its wheels:
Have You Been Networking?
No matter how good your resume is, it won’t matter all that much until it gets in front of the right person. Over and over, studies have shown people tend to get jobs through recommendations of some kind, and not necessarily formal ones either. From having a chat with the neighbor to being in the right online circles, what you do socially can help you professionally.
While it’s a great idea to upload your information to a resume database, and is a way to get yourself out there, it’s also important to make real-life connections.
“Submitting resumes is extremely easy and many job seekers prefer that method,” Suzanne Lucas wrote for Moneywatch. “But, it rarely works. What you need to do, instead, is get your resume in front of an actual human.”
The best way to do that is through networking – whether it comes naturally to you or not.
Have You Considered the Small Issues?
Some of what determines whether your resume gets a second look seems pretty trivial from the outside. For example, did you know your chances of getting hired are best if you submit your materials on Monday? For whatever reason, this is the case, and job seekers should definitely know about it. Anything you can do to boost your chances is worthwhile.
Another area you might not have considered is the exact wording of your resume. Of course, you need to be free of grammatical and spelling errors, and make the resume both informative and easy on the eye, but there are other considerations too. LinkedIn’s career expert Nicole Williams wants you to know, for example, that certain words flag your resume as being pretty boring.
“These words sound smart,” she told Fox Business, “but everyone uses them and they have lost their efficacy. Using these words means you sound just like everyone else, and in this labor market, that isn’t going to help you find a job fast.”
The overused words in question include responsible, strategic, creative, effective and patient.
Where Are You Applying?
If you’re using certain websites to find postings to apply to, you may not have much luck. Job sites of this kind aren’t known to be particularly reputable or focused on the needs of businesses and job seekers. Instead, look for a free job posting website that is solely focused on jobs. These often offer job alerts, too, so you can stay on top of the best opportunities for you.