As a career coach, I get asked a lot of questions about the job search – a LOT! I woke up thinking about them and thought I would share those most frequently asked.
Q: I’ve always gotten every job I’ve applied for. That doesn’t happen anymore. Why?
A: The market and technology have changed. First, thanks to automated application systems, there are more people competing with you for those jobs. It’s no longer just a local market. Second, companies have gotten very impersonal in their searching methods; seeking out key words and qualifications. While they may end up with a great candidate, this process systemically eliminates other great candidates.
Q: I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs online, but rarely hear anything back.
A: Ah! This is my pet peeve. Thanks again to the Automated Tracking Systems (ATS), machines are now scanning resumes in search of key words. Do they appear? In what order do they appear? How recently do they appear? You can never know exactly how a company has set up their ATS, so it’s difficult to beat the system. Your chances of getting selected are slim. The highest number of successful applicants I’ve ever found is 25%. So, your chance of ‘getting through’ are extremely low. There are hundreds of suggestions on how to beat the system out there, but I don’t see the numbers changing much.
Q: So, if my chances are so low with an ATS, how do I get noticed?
A: As much as people don’t want to hear this, the answer is Networking. The good news though, is that this doesn’t mean going out to events with hundreds of people and trying to get noticed. You can network one on one with people you already know. Reach out. Let people know you’re looking.
Q: How do I increase my chances?
A: The one thing I recommend that surprises people, and actually makes them uncomfortable, is to narrow your search. Do your research and identify the top 10-20 companies that offer jobs in your field, meet your values and personality, and provide the requirements you seek. Not only will you land a job sooner, but you’ll waste less time going after jobs that don’t meet your criteria. Why apply to jobs that pay too little, or don’t have the work/life balance you seek? Taking the time to land at the RIGHT company, will help ensure you are happy with your work.
Q: Will a company withdraw an offer if I counter?
A: No. I always encourage my clients to negotiate and I’ve never seen a company withdraw an offer, especially when it’s done professionally. Counter multiple times, or with unreasonable demands, and yes, they may walk, but not the first time.
I hope these will help you in your search. Be confident, do your research, and go out there and land that next great job!
Andrea's passion is to see you achieve your professional dreams. Whether you are a corporate leader seeking leadership development for your employees or an individual seeking guidance in building your career or preparing for retirement, she will coach you to success.