“I keep applying for jobs and never hearing back…”  (says pretty much every job seeker in America, these days!)

It’s SO frustrating, I know!  You feel like your resume’s going into a black hole and you wonder what could be going on.

I found this article to be thought-provoking:  3 Subtle Things Job Seekers Do Right  (Nicole Fallon, Business News Daily)

The author’s main ideas (in bold) and my two cents about the points she’s making:

Be speedy:  Of course, hearing about a job by networking before the job is ever posted is always better than applying online, but sometimes you’ll first hear about a role on an online job board.  Apply very quickly to roles that you hear about, no matter how they come to you.  For online job boards, set up search alerts, and read them in a timely manner, so that you’re among the first to know about a posted job.

Based on a survey by Beyond.com, job seekers increase your chances by 7% by applying quickly to a job.  I remember my days as a recruiter; I’d post a job, get an initial “batch” of resumes in the first few days, and then use that initial batch to create my early favorites for the job.  I did consider later candidates, but the early ones got much more attention.

Tailor your resume, and not just its file name.  Based on that same Beyond.com research, you are 10% more likely to receive a job offer if you carefully craft a resume for the specific role.  When I help clients do this, we look at each and every line of the resume:

-We delete bullet points that aren’t relevant to the current employer.

-We move bullet points up or down depending upon their importance to the potential role.

-We change the headline of the resume.

-We highlight certain keywords and accomplishments depending upon the job posting and the company research.

-We add descriptors after each job title on the resume – ex:  VP, Marketing (Brand Strategy, Customer Engagement, Campaigns) with keywords that are a) true and b) tailored to the job in question

– We look for places where your past employer had a customer set that’s the same as the new opportunity, and then insert those customer names into the resume if possible.

Do your research before submitting your resume.  Your research helps you better target whether the company’s right for you, in the first place, but also arms you with the information you need to advance in the interview process.  Here are some ideas for research:

– Use the company’s name as a search term on LinkedIn to see if you have any connections, of course, but also to get a picture of what types of roles exist at this organization, and how people describe their work there.  Try to see if you can determine the hiring manager for this role, and view that person’s profile if possible.  (If you’re not connected to someone who knows that person on LinkedIn, try doing it as a Google search instead, and you may be able to see the person’s public profile.)

– Enter the company’s name into the Google News tab (in quotes if it’s a phrase) and see what recent developments have hit the news about that organization.

-See if the company and/or hiring manager has a Twitter account, and see what kinds of topics they’re sharing.

-Check the company out on Glassdoor.com to see if there’s any insight into the organization’s culture

– Spend some quality time on the organization’s website, looking at the work they do, the articles they’ve published (blog or otherwise), their customer stories, and anything else that will help you learn how they describe the work they do.

If you want to win:

I do realize that it’s hard for a job seeker to be speedy, targeted, AND informed.  That’s a lot of work to fit in within a short timeframe if you’d like to be one of the first candidates to apply for a position.  You do have to “pick your battles” and only do all this work if you’re convinced the role is a good fit for you!