By Rudy Racine
Searching for a new job is a tedious process. But one of the worst parts is learning a position you wanted was filled—before you ever even got a chance to interview.
If you find yourself in that situation over and over again, you want to figure out whatever’s holding you back so you can address it ASAP. But, the truth is: There’s no “one size fits all” solution to guarantee you’ll get an interview. Sometimes a pretty minor change (like proofreading) will make the difference. Other times, you need to revamp your overall strategy. And it can be hard to know where on the spectrum you fall.
That’s why I’ve put together five questions—in order from the smallest changes required to the largest—so you’ll know whether your job search needs some tweaks or an overhaul. I suggest you read them in order, and if the answer is yes, make that change. If it’s no, keep reading to see if something bigger is what’s holding you back.
3. Do You Simply Send Off Your Application and Wait?
Many people fail to realize that there’s more to getting an interview than simply pressing submit. In fact, the majority of the work is done after the application’s sent in.
Pressing submit is equivalent to placing your resume on a recruiter’s desk, only to have a slew of resumes dumped on top of it seconds later. By simply waiting for them to find your materials on their own, you risk the chance that they may never even see it in the first place.
Yes? Fix It
The key to getting someone’s attention is to reach out to them. Send a short LinkedIn message or an email informing a recruiter or hiring manager that you applied and ask for the opportunity to interview. It should look like this:
I hope you’re doing well! I recently applied to a Program Manager position at your company and would be grateful for the opportunity to interview with you. I have over [number] years of leadership experience, have managed a variety of projects throughout my career, and truly believe that I would be an asset to your team. Please let me know if you’d be open to discussing the position with me in more detail.
Thanks in advance for your time and consideration,
Some may say this approach puts you at risk of becoming the “annoying” candidate—but, as a former recruiter I can tell you that one follow-up email isn’t bad (Note: I said one). It shows you’re interested, and if your resume did fall through the cracks, you’ll have gotten the other person’s attention.
4. Have You Kept Your Job Search a Secret?
I get it: You don’t want to bother your friends, so you figure you’ll wait until you actually land an interview to mention you applied at their company. Or, you’re uncomfortable sharing that you’ve been looking, because so far you feel like you don’t have anything to show for it.
However, it’s often easier to secure an interview when you’re referred internally. So, speaking up earlier will increase your chances of getting your foot in the door.
Yes? Fix It
When reaching out, take the time to research their company first, and have a target position in mind before asking for their help. This way you can ask for their assistance with securing an interview for your target position, instead of simply asking them to let you know if their company is hiring. (While being non-specific might seem nicer, the latter approach puts the responsibility on them to find a position that suits you, which translates to more work on their part.)