During my interview coaching sessions, most candidates share that their major pain point is that they do not receive an interview call in spite of sending multiple applications to various prospective employers. I understand it is a frustrating experience as a professional but you as a candidate can certainly turn this situation around by avoiding 7 common mistakes. These slip-ups may not seem crucial to you on the face of it but are certainly responsible for you missing out on getting the interview call. So let us think out of the box.
Mistake 1 : ‘Cursory’ homework
Not doing in depth homework on the organization as well as the job’s requirement before sending the application.
Solution : Even before you send in your Resume, you need to literally behave and think as if you are already an employee of the company. Connecting with vendors, employees, ex employees to find out about the business pain points of the job and the organization is mandatory.
Mistake 2 : A ‘general’ cover letter
Sending a generalised cover letter across different positions is like gifting the same size shirt to 10 of your friends. Does that work? You know the answer.
Solution : a] Develop a 'Pitch' letter. It should strike an emotional chord within the reader and not be limited to only a nice well done format b] The business pain point needs to be addressed and you need to find that connect by demonstrating that you are the solution provider.
Mistake 3 : ‘General’ Resume
Sending a general Resume without customising and tweaking. A non customised approach is as bad as trying to board flight A while you have the ticket for flight B.
Solution : Create a Story based Resume. Every skill that you possess which matches the Key Result Area in the Job description should be included and highlighted in the form of success stories.
Mistake 4: The ‘anonymous’ hiring manager
There is an interesting quote “ I call everyone darling because I don’t remember their names” – Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Solution : Addressing the hiring manager by his/her name is a must. Only then it attracts attention and increases the chances of your letter being read.
Mistake 5: No ‘Follow up’
Not following up with the Hiring manager/HR manager after sending the application is an opportunity lost. In sales, research has demonstrated that during cold calling, it takes on an average 5 connects with the prospective buyer to convert it into a sale. Selling yourself as a solution provider is similar.
Solution : You need to call the hiring manager and follow up. A note of caution however is that we need not come across as desperate. It has to be a well planned call and has to be made after an appropriate gap. Make an elevator pitch and you will improve your chances of being called for an interview. Here again, addressing the business point of the prospective job and company is what matters during the follow up call.
Mistake 6 : Taking the ‘Recruitment Agency for granted’ .
Many times, as a job seeker, we assume that the Recruitment Agency need not necessarily be taken as seriously as the prospective employer in terms of approach. So the mode used commonly is sending the Resume without any specific objective for a specific client ( prospective employer). We need to remember that a good Recruitment agency enjoys deep relationships with their clients (prospective employer) and it is their business and you should capitalise on it.
Solution: Studying the list of the agency’s clients , understanding the business pain points of each, demonstrating how you can add value, all the steps need to be followed. That motivates an agency to build a case and present your candidature to their clients.
Mistake 7: Assuming that making your application through a known source who already has a ‘relationship’ with the hiring manager is a substitute for the value you get to the table.
Solution : If there is someone who knows the hiring manager, it may helpful to go through him/her. It could be ex colleagues, ex bosses or business partners. However, do not fall into the trap of thinking that this referral route is a substitute for presentation of your candidature meritoriously
We are more learned now :-). So let us go ahead and evolve as smart job seekers.