Be open to working on site.
After almost two years of pandemic-related quarantines and anxiety, it’s understandable that many Americans would prefer to prefer not to work on site, but unfortunately, it’s just not realistic to expect that perk when you’re looking for a new job. Plus, since remote jobs are currently flooded with applicants, the odds are against you. Expand your search (and open your mind) to include both remote and on-site positions, and you’ll probably get more traction. Thankfully, most businesses in the United States are obligated (or at least strongly encouraged) to follow certain safety precautions regarding COVID-19, and once you get an interview, you can ask how the specific company is protecting their employees.
Search for jobs by keyword, not only by industry.
In other words, though there are a lot of available jobs, those jobs don’t match up exactly with the applicants who are looking for work. If you can’t seem to find a job in your current industry, write a list of your skills, experience, and qualifications and search by keyword instead of by exact job title and/or industry. Many entry-level, administrative, sales, and managerial positions share common qualifications and job responsibilities across different industries. When you explore job postings by your skills and interests, not only do you increase your chances of getting a job, but you also open the door to discover tons of new possibilities!
Make sure you're actually qualified.
If you’re frustrated in the job search, there’s a chance you are applying for the wrong jobs. Read each posting thoroughly and take note of all the qualifications the recruiter is looking for. If you haven’t yet gained the required experience, it’s unlikely that you’ll be hired for that dream job you’re seeking. Instead of banging your head against the same brick wall over and over again, consider shifting your mindset: Start with your main goal and work backward from there. Is there a dream company you’d like to work for? Do you want to break into a different industry or career path? What title do you want to have five or ten years from now? Write a list of your current skills, qualifications, certifications, etc., find a position that puts you on the path to your dream job, and your passion will drive you to reach those goals before you know it.
Play the AI game.
And though resume-screening software might be a great technological advance for employers, Molla and Stewart underscore the challenges resume-screening software pose to job seekers: “The endless quest to make hiring efficient has rendered it inefficient. Candidates who are great fits for 90 percent of the job are screened out because they’re not perfect for the other 10 percent. Recruiters are so inundated with résumés flowing in online that they only look at the first few, hiring the people they can get the fastest instead of the people who are the best fit."
So basically, if you haven’t heard back after submitting a job application online, chances are you didn’t pass the ATS (Automated Resume Screening) process. Here are a few guidelines to pleasing the robots (and getting your resume into real, human hands):
- Identify keywords from the job posting, and use them mindfully in your resume. The first step is to read the job description VERY closely. How does the employer describe the role, the requirements, and the ideal candidate? Take note of the important words they use, then include those keywords wherever they make sense in your resume. Do not overstuff your resume with these words; make sure they are used truthfully and in context. Computers are smarter than you think, and some ATF programs know how to scan for overoptimization.
- Don’t try to outsmart the robots. If you are truly qualified person for the position, and if you’ve tailored your resume to the job and included keywords in a mindful way, then chances are you will pass the ATF screening and get a response. If you get past the first screening because you stuffed your resume with misplaced keywords and copied and pasted text from the job posting, you’ll be rejected by the first human who reads the resume after screening.
- Make sure your resume is easy to scan. Keep special formatting to a minimum and save your resume as a standard file type. For instance, if a posting says to submit your resume as a PDF or .docx file, follow their directions.