t takes an average six months between starting a job search and getting hired, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a long time, especially if you’re lingering in a job you don’t like or just waiting to get started. Whether the search is short or long, the real question is, how do you get an interview in the first place? KSL Jobs suggests five ways you may be sabotaging yourself, and tips to make you more hirable.
If you aren’t getting a response to your seemingly well-crafted resume, it could simply be what you didn’t say. Recruiters — both the human and automated variety — quickly scan resumes for keywords. It’s not a secret formula; just look for the descriptive words in the job listing. Then, use those same words to describe your skills or past experience. This should put you in the second-look pile.
If you’ve had multiple jobs, you don’t need to include them all on your resume. Recruiters generally prefer no more than two pages, so skip the irrelevant stuff. Sure, you’re the best basketball player in your city league, but that doesn’t translate to your skills as a salesman. Unless you’re really good at getting refs to overturn their calls.
To stand out, include relevant experience such as internships or leadership positions. And if you’ve only flipped burgers, no problem. Write down your ability to lead the other cooks, or that you were regularly left to manage the area. Include unique certifications you may have. You didn’t go to Hamburger University for nothing.
And finally, have someone proofread your resume. Yes, it’s important. They can help you with errors you missed — even on the seventh read through — and perhaps make suggestions for making it stronger.
2. You don’t have an online portfolio
As beautiful and impressive as your resume may be, it’s just a list of your achievements. Another — perhaps more effective — way to make yourself more marketable is using a digital portfolio. Through your own website, you can present a dynamic, visual representation of your accomplishments. If you are an artist, you can display your pieces. If you’re a programmer, show projects you’ve worked on. A chef? Add pictures of your best dishes.
An online portfolio can also include more personality than a piece of paper. Include a page that tells about your interests or hobbies. If they can be related to the job you're applying for, all the better. For example, you could include that you studied Spanish for four years, which will help you communicate with bilingual clients.
3. You aren’t networking
Do you know what all your school friends are doing nowadays? Find out. Remember those coworkers you used to eat lunch with? Learn where they went. How about that chill dude you talked with for an hour at the last business conference? Or the professor who said you rocked the final project? Networking is about making connections with people from your past and present. As you build relationships, you can share advice, experiences and, hopefully, job opportunities.
A Hubspot survey suggests that networking helps fill some 85% of job openings. Case in point: Would you choose a sushi restaurant based on the referral of a trusted friend or an anonymous review? You’d go with the credible source.
The same principle applies here. Recruiters may see hundreds of applications, and trying to choose between similarly qualified candidates can be a challenge. But if an employer already knows the person, or knows someone who referred them? Much easier choice. Natural selection, baby.
4. You aren’t flexible
The likelihood of finding something that perfectly fits your skill set is fairly slim. Having eight years of experience as a store manager may not translate into a senior position elsewhere. You may need to take a step sideways — or even down — and start climbing a different ladder. Maybe the new job isn’t what you ideally want, but it may take you places you didn’t expect. One of the ways to make yourself more hireable is to branch out. Change your expectations.
Your willingness to literally move may open more job opportunities, as well. Even if your family has been living in a certain Utah county for 80 years, that doesn’t mean you must. Search KSL Jobs for options all across Utah and Idaho. Or consider relocating to other states. Being flexible about where you are willing to live gives you a broader market.
5. You’re applying randomly
Not knowing — or caring — about the company you are applying to is a definite red flag that could quickly push you out of the running, no matter your experience. On the other hand, your knowledge or excitement about the business will stand out, in a good way.
When you’re preparing your resume and online portfolio, demonstrate that you are aware of what the company needs and how you can fill that role. Tailoring your application to a particular business is a surefire way to make yourself more marketable.
If you are successful in getting an interview, have a good idea of what the company is all about and what the job is. You may be able to bluff your way through a cover letter, or possibly the initial interview. But if you’re serious about getting a job, do your homework.
Bonus: Be purposeful
What kind of job do you really want? What kind of organization do you want to work for? Why? Answering these questions can help you narrow down the type of workplace where you will best fit.
Search and apply for openings on KSL Jobs, where you can quickly upload your carefully curated resume. Expand on your paper trail with a virtual one, namely an online portfolio. Finally, extend your possibilities by networking and looking outside your box. With a few simple moves, you can change the reasons you’re not getting an interview into reasons that you are.