5 Fixable Job Search Mistakes That Are Holding You Back From Interviews

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:

Dear [Name],

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,
[Your Name]

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.)

See all 5 mistakes, how to fix them, and the complete TheMuse article

How to Make a Job or Career Change at 50+

Going through a job or career change at 50+ can be challenging, especially if you’ve been with the same company for years. Fortunately there are a few things you can do to make sure you get interviews and end your job search successfully.

We invited professional resume writer Virginia Franco to share 7 “musts” when changing jobs or careers at 50+.

I’ll let her take it from here…

Hi, Virginia here. I work with Baby Boomers all the time. Most are incredibly accomplished and passionate about their work.

But there are a few common mistakes I see if somebody hasn’t changed jobs in a while… on both ends of the spectrum… Many job seekers over 50 make the mistake of thinking the job search process hasn’t changed much recently (it has), and others overestimate these changes.

First… What Has Changed – and What Hasn’t

Before we get into my top 7 tips for making a job or career change at 50+, let’s talk about what’s different and what’s the same.

YES – Applicant Tracking System technology must be considered when writing a resume. YES – networking takes place via LinkedIn and YES – video interviews are common.

Despite all the changes, two key aspects remain intact. PEOPLE are still working with PEOPLE to find and interview candidates, and making decisions about who to interview and who to hire is still performed by humans.

Now let’s look at a few things things you can do right away to make your job search successful…

2. Know Your Deal Breakers

Before starting your job search, ask yourself what is important. How many hours a week are too much? How much travel are you open to? How long a commute is tolerable? Are you open to temp or contract work or is a full-time role with benefits a requirement?

Being able to be clear with employers about these factors will save you from wasting time and will allow you to focus on opportunities that are a great fit.

Be careful about bringing these topics up too early when speaking with the company though. As a general rule of thumb, the first interview should be 100% about the job and your abilities, unless they ask about something else.

6. Over-Prepare For Your Interview

Today’s job interviews may be structured differently than they were in your last job search. Especially if it’s been more than a few years.

Panel or group interviews, multiple back-to-back interviews, and video or Skype interviews are more common.

Try to find out the format ahead of time by asking whoever scheduled your interview.

Once you’ve done that, research the people you’ll be speaking with (if you know their names). LinkedIn is a good place to start. Look to see if you have anything in common… mutual colleagues, interests, educational background, etc. That’ll make a good talking point.

And of course, one thing that hasn’t changed at all: You should know about the position, know what’s on the job description, know how the company makes money, who their CEO is, who their competitors are, and everything else like that before walking into the interview (or picking up the phone).

See all 7 tips and the complete CareerSideKick article

How To Craft A Job Search Elevator Pitch

Susan Adams

When Anita Attridge worked in human resources at Merck and Xerox , she frequently kicked off job interviews with a standard request: Tell me about yourself. A striking number of applicants couldn’t answer her coherently. “You’d get everything from, ‘Where do you want me to start?’ to their whole life story,” she says. She’s now a coach with The Five O’Clock Club, a career counseling firm.

“People screw it up all the time,” agrees Connie Thanasoulis, a career services consultant at the job search Web site Vault.com. “They think they should walk you through their entire résumé.” Instead, Thanasoulis, Attridge and other career and communications pros agree, job seekers should be prepared with a 15- to 30-second “elevator pitch,” so-called because it should be so vivid and concise it could be delivered in the space of an elevator ride.

How do you sum up your life’s experience and job ambitions in 30 seconds or less? First of all, think about the benefit you can confer on the employer, advises Jane Praeger, a media coach who heads Ovid Inc., in New York City. “People are too apt to go in with a laundry list of skills–I can do this, I can do that,” she says. “Instead, say, for example, ‘I can make sure your employees are well supervised and motivated.’” Praeger’s own elevator pitch? “I help people figure out what to say and how to say it, to get the results they want.”

Thanasoulis’ strategy: Start by filling a whole page with what you would want to say to a hiring manager. Cut that down to half a page. Keep cutting until you get to a quarter page. Then pull out three bullet points that give a snapshot of your career. Thanasoulis’s pitch: “I spent 25 years on Wall Street heading up a staffing organization for Fortune 500 companies. Now I take those insider secrets and teach people how to run an efficient, effective job search.”

See more info, tips, and the complete Forbes article

Five Annoying New Interview Questions You’ll Hear In 2017

Liz Ryan

Five New, Annoying Interview Questions You’ll Hear In 2017

1. What are you better at than anyone else in the world?

2. What’s one thing in your life you would have done differently if you could do it over again?

3. What is your ideal job – in detail?

4. What’s the most significant thing that has happened to you so far in your life?

5. Studies show that twenty percent of employees do eighty percent of the work. What makes you part of the twenty percent?

Let’s tackle these brainless questions one by one…

See the answers and the complete Forbes article

Top Resume Tips for Veterans to Find Job Search Success

by

Job search success is a goal that many of our nation’s veterans have difficulty finding, but these top resume tips for veterans can help. Our country owes so much to each and every veteran and we want them each to succeed and have an easy transition back into the civilian job market. Our country’s veterans bring such great skills and experience to share with our nation’s employers, but many have difficulty making their military experience relevant to employers on their resume.

The Broadway musical “Hamilton” features a song, “My Shot,” that tells about a young Alexander Hamilton eagerly embracing the challenges in front of him to make a difference and become a leader in the fight to build a new nation. That same eagerness exists in our veterans returning home. It is a time of great excitement, as well as great nervousness. The transition is often not easy, and thankfully we have some top resume tips for veterans and resources available to help

Job Search Challenges for Veterans

It is no secret that many of our nation’s veterans struggle to find work after their military service ends. No doubt, there are many challenges that face our veterans, and not all of them are related to finding work.

Many veterans find it difficult to translate their experience and service into a set of skills that employers can understand and need. This is because much of the experience gained in the military is very specific to military equipment, processes, and procedures that are not relevant outside the military. But, in fact, it is relevant. This is by far the biggest complaint I hear from veterans is that no one wants someone with experience preparing, maintaining, and operating a specific piece of military equipment. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Yes, true, company ABC does not own or operate military equipment so there is no need for that SPECIFIC skill, and that’s OK. You didn’t really think you would be running military equipment in the civilian workforce, did you?

This is where many veterans often don’t see the forest through the trees. The higher level skills that it takes to perform that can translate very well to working with other equipment or managing processes and operations and teams. You need to remove a lot of the military-speak specifics from your experience and speak about your background in a way that a civilian employer will understand and appreciate. Employers often don’t understand, or really even care about the detailed specifics of military equipment. Your goal is to be able to convey your experience at the right level of detail that an employer can see it in terms of their own world and appreciate how your skills will help them.

So, unless you are seeking a civilian position as a military consultant or contractor, you must find a way to convey your military experience in a way that competes with civilian job seekers and that makes your experience relevant to what the company is seeking. This not an easy task, and I am not suggesting that is. It often takes many iterations of resume to get the balance right. But, if you send out 100 resumes and get no interest or calls, you definitely have a resume problem.

If you are not up to the challenge yourself, there are top resume writers who have great track records working with veterans. In fact, top resume writer, Jessica Hernandez of Great Resumes Fast, was recognized on Resume Remodeler’s list of 2016 top resume writers as #1. Great Resumes Fast has worked extensively with veterans and helped them to successfully make the transition to civilian work. If you are struggling in your job search, sometimes honest advice and assistance from a professional with a successful track record like Jessica Hernandez is exactly what a veteran needs to make things happen. Check our review of Great Resumes Fast for more information on why we selected her as the top resume writer for 2016.

Top Resume Tips for Veterans

Here are our top resume tips for veterans to help get your veteran job search on track.

  1. DE-MILITARIZE YOUR RESUME. Many veterans will take this the wrong way. Please know that in no way is this tip meant to take away from your service and experience. Please recognize that most companies do not have a need for someone to operate or maintain a howitzer or tank. However, this does not mean that these skills are not valuable or needed. You just need to present them differently to a civilian employer than you would to the military. It is your job to help a potential employer see the relevance of your skills to their needs, do not expect them to do research and make those connections, especially in a tight job market.

See all 8 tips and the complete ResumeRemodeler article

21 Things Recruiters Absolutely Hate About Your Resume

Written by Lindsay Kolowich | @

I’ll never forget one of my first job interviews out of college.

I was applying for a marketing position at a technology company. (No, not HubSpot.) Because my college major had nothing to do with marketing or technology, I’d written “Relevant coursework: Statistics” in the education section of my resume in an effort to draw a connection.

When I came in to interview, everything was going great — until I met with one of the company’s VPs. He sat down, turned my resume over on the table in front of him, scribbled down an advanced statistics question, and pushed it across the table to me.

Crap.

Let’s just say it’d been a while since I brushed up on my statistics. I ended up reasoning my way through the problem, but it wasn’t a piece of cake — and I was stressed as heck. I learned an important lesson that day: Never put something on your resume you can’t back up 100%. That, my friends, is just one of the many things recruiters hate to see on resumes.

Every recruiter has their own list of things they don’t like to see on resumes, and you never know who’s going to see yours. That’s why it’s important to avoid all the most common resume mistakes.

I spoke with some of the top recruiters here at HubSpot to find out the top 21 things recruiters and hiring managers don’t want to see on your resume. Needless to say, you may want to bookmark this one …

1) When you send it in a Google Doc, and then don’t grant proper permissions.

Before you send your resume to a recruiter, you need to convert it to a format that allows all recipients to read it as intended.

Ideally, this means converting it into a PDF format so none of the original formatting or spacing is lost in translation. You can convert a Microsoft Word document into a PDF by choosing File > Save as Adobe PDF.

save-as-PDF.png

If you have to send your resume over as a Google Doc, at least grant the recipient proper permissions to view it by clicking “Share” in the top-right corner of your Google Doc, entering in the email address of the people you want to include, and choosing “Can view” from the dropdown menu.

google-doc-share-with-others.png

Or, you can let anyone read it by clicking that “Share” button and then choosing “Get shareable link” at the top. Then, choose “can view” from the dropdown menu and send that link to the recruiter.

google-doc-anyone-with-link-can-view.png

We recommend a PDF format, though. It’s much more professional.

3) When you mention the wrong company. (Oops.)

Of course, no one ever means to address the wrong company in their resume. But if you’re including your intentions as a candidate somewhere on your resume (which we don’t recommend, by the way; see #10), then you need to get it right.

“It’s unfortunate when a candidate has a good resume or cover letter, but don’t proofread and put in the wrong company information,” says Emily MacIntyre, Senior Marketing Recruiter here at HubSpot.

Getting this right goes beyond proofreading; it means paying attention to the details of the transaction. Customizing your resumes to different companies is expected, but you need to make sure you’re sending the right resumes to the right companies. One tip is to save your different resumes with the company name in the title, like Kolowich-Resume-HubSpot.

8) When you’re “Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.”

Almost every single candidate feels the need to include this phrase on their resume — but recruiters hate to see it. Basic proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite is assumed for college graduates these days.

“Unless you can run pivot tables, VLOOKUPs, and complex data modeling out of Excel, then don’t include proficiency in Excel on your resume,” says Marsters. “Writing a 500-word essay in Word and sorting a column in alphabetical order in Excel does not count as proficiency in those systems.”

Pro Tip: If you want the Excel chops to be able to include it on your resume, here are the 10 best resources for learning Excel online.

See all 21 things and the complete HubSpot article