No one told me this when I was job hunting

Do not expect to be shaken out of your edge-less blanket of morose and unfulfilling job search and be transported to the job of your dreams! As much as we wish that our job hunt be the next smoother phase of our lives after childhood, the ever-changing landscape of recruitment and talent acquisition has other plans. Apologies for popping the bubble but the struggle my friend, is very real!

Depending on where you come from, how recruitment happens there for the set of roles you are after, your experience could be: rather regular and lands you with a satisfying job the moment you set your mind to it(hardly happens), long but insightful (most likely!) or downright frustrating (sadly for some).

Source: Getty Images

Imagine you have been on the lookout for that dream role 2 weeks in and haven’t heard from one of the 20 firms you presented your resume/CV to. “What’s taking them this long?”, “ Have they given away my dream to someone else to realize?”. There could be a host of reasons for why you haven’t received that email with “You’ve been invited to…” in the subject:

(in no particular order)

· The role was closed. Maybe you are right and someone else bagged the role. Sounds unfair but company policies such as favoring referrals and internal resourcing for example (i.e., if you weren’t a referral) could close positions before they complete a week on the portal you have made your second home.

· The role is no longer required. There was a rejig as the people handling cash for the firm thought they could do without a supposedly-redundant role. This is not something anyone could predict; I understand the annoyance.

· The company/HR is just plain…slow and they are not in a big hurry to fill the position. This is possibly a major reason for why they didn’t call you for a chat. In defense of the professional handling the recruitment, there must be other roles that need more attention at this time and yours would be catered to in that order. He/she is just doing his/her job.

· (Brace yourself) Your resume is just not a fit! Their first impression of you — your resume/C.V didn’t make the cut with the demonic ATS (Applicant Tracking System).

For a bit of background, most sizable companies and others reduce a huge load of job applications to a meager number by using ATS software that referees a boxing duel between your resume’s keywords against those of the job description. So much for artificial intelligence.

That said, this is surmountable with a bit of thought to matching your resume to the job requirements. Not word-by-word. Focus on ‘keywords’. For smaller firms or those which do not have a robotic ATS, the hiring manager/recruiter would be taking that role. This is when resume structuring becomes the need of the hour.

· The position you are referring to is outdated. Watch out for the posting date. Anything beyond a month could be let go, unless the job was re-posted which means divine intervention was at play and the role had been waiting for you all along.

· The portal you refer to isn’t the recruiter’s favorite fishing pond. Generally speaking, being active on more than one platform is point number 1 in the job search rule book. So LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed and others depending on the country and the company’s site should be on your browser’s favorites.

This is not an exhaustive list and there could be a host of other points of consideration during the job hunt. Having been in this maze of job search madness and repeated rejection (I applied to 60 jobs in as many companies in 3 weeks), these were the mental notes I made to refer to later. A few of these, if not all, could benefit you in your search:

1) Throw shyness off the 25th floor of a high-rise. I could say it a hundred (thousand) times but job searching, while you don’t know it, is preparing you for two roles — the role you are applying for and for being YOUR best salesman/saleswoman.

According to an estimate, a jaw-dropping 75% of jobs are filled through networking. Enough said.

2) Deriving from point 1 but pulling your attention to another cornerstone of your job search: your almighty, all-encompassing, but NOT all-telling resume! Your resume should be verbose enough to make the hiring manager think you are the solution to his problems and succinct enough to confirm that he is not viewing an ad selling a food processor. Less is more.

3) Bonus resume point: The resume is THAT important to a job hunt. Remember our old foe, the ATS? Let’s make friends and let sites like jobscan.co play middlemen. What Jobscan does is it matches selected keywords in the job description and your resume and produces a match percentage. 80% is where you would want to be. Not quite there yet? Fix your resume to match the requirements by using Jobscan’s clues on where you missed out.

4) Research. This should perhaps be at the top of this article. Meticulous research on the job market, the growth rate in the desired field, the expectations of skills and pay is just what any job seeker must begin with, before even preparing a resume for application. Inadequate and incomplete information has led to many a job search disappointment. If you are moving to a new country, this could be where you officially fish or cut bait.

Source: Getty Images

5) Show people more of you. Visibility whether at job fairs or on your LinkedIn profile could boost your chances at a job in ways that would pleasantly surprise you. According to some reports, as many as 95% of recruiters admit to using LinkedIn at some stage of hiring to find, research or connect with candidates. Why Facebook when spending hours on LinkedIn can get you that beach-facing corner office?

6) Don’t lose heart. Be kind to yourself. Use time wisely. One well-tailored resume a day is better than 20 bulk resumes an hour. While not negotiating with Jobscan, spend time doing what you love best. Don’t beat yourself up. Hiring is changing and so should our job search.

Did I get that job, you ask? You bet😊

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