6 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting a Job Interview

Many job seekers spend a great deal of time preparing for a job interview, but the job application process begins long before you land that first meeting

Jobvite found that the conversion rate from application to interview is less than 2% in data, tech, media, education and consumer internet companies — with e-commerce companies like Grubhub or Zappos considering a whopping 66 applicants per hire. The good news is, you can significantly improve your odds of getting an interview with some preparation and attention to what recruiters are looking for.

1. Apply Early

By sheer math (think the number of applicants versus staff to review them), it can be nearly impossible to give every application the attention it deserves after the first seven days of receiving applications. The earlier you submit your application, the better your chances it will be reviewed properly. Leverage popular job boards, such as Indeed and LinkedIn, to set up job alerts using keywords that match what you’re looking for. Have your résumé and cover letter ready to go, then personalize it based on the job description and organization.

2. Don’t Let Rejection Discourage You

A small percentage of applicants score an interview, so don’t let rejection get you down. Many candidates feel frustrated about submitting their information and never hearing back. However, a strategic follow-up message sent to the hiring manager or HR contact can help demonstrate your value to the company and expedite a response. I recommend waiting three weeks and following up with a short and thoughtful message about how you can contribute to their team, especially if the job remains posted. Unfortunately, most applicant review processes are dependent upon multiple stakeholders whose schedules are often unpredictable. It’s like dating: You have to anticipate some rejection (and in some cases, ghosting).

3. Keep Your Social Profiles Updated

Ensure all of your public social media profiles jibe and convey the same message about who you are and your work experience. This extends beyond LinkedIn — particularly if you will be working in a role with marketing and social media responsibilities. Even if unintended, omissions or discrepancies can betray a lack of attention to detail or suggest you’re hiding something.

4. Take a Stance

It’s great to be open to different career paths, but employers typically have immediate, specific needs and want to hire people who have a clear goal of what they want to do. If you have dabbled in social media, branding and PR, and you’re applying for a social media role, make sure that expertise shines above your other skills. Review job postings in detail. Be concise at the top of your résumé, and in your LinkedIn profile, and tailor your qualifications to match key job competencies and responsibilities.

5. Save Something to Be Revealed in the Interview

When I’m hiring, I want to see key responsibilities and top-level results in an application. Save the detailed situations, tasks and actions you took for the interview. Jotting these down separately usually makes for a nice basis for preparation that will answer almost any behavioral question that could come up in an interview. When an applicant includes an overly detailed biography with their job application, it suggests an inability to present concisely.

6. Leverage Connections

You’re more likely to get an interview if someone refers you. Employee referrals are continuously rated as a top source of quality hires, and iCIMS Modern Job Seeker Report found that 77% of employees are currently working for a company that has a formal employee referral program. If you’re passionate about an organization or an opening, leveraging a connection you have on LinkedIn or someone you met at a marketing network meeting is fair game. Chat with your trusted business contacts and social media connections openly about companies or jobs you are interested in. You never know who has a connection that you could use to bring your application to the top of the company’s inbox.

As you embark on new employment opportunities, remember these tips to help you navigate. Work your connections, start early and prepare. Your application will shine through when the right opportunity arises.

About the Author | Holly Schmittle

Holly Schmittle is the director of human resources at Planit, a Baltimore-based advertising agency. She has more than 15 years of experience in human resources across industries including marketing, engineering, accounting and medicine.