A personal friend recently told me that they are having a really hard time getting job interviews. They asked my advice as a headhunter on how to get interviews. After chatting for a bit, I noticed some very glaring flaws in their particular job search strategy. If you too are frustrated because you want to know how to get interviews, this post is for you!
First, to land job interviews you need to be realistic. You have to target jobs for which you are well qualified. A potential employer is looking for people who have strong experience in the skill sets required by the job. If you are applying for jobs that are too outside your skill area, or in roles that are too senior for your level of experience, don’t be surprised when your phone isn’t ringing off the hook. You need to target potential jobs where you have a relevant skill set, and appropriate years of experience. This does not mean that there can’t be some flexibility. Rarely, if ever, will a candidate have ALL of the necessary skills, or EXACTLY the requisite number of years in a position.
Second, you need a GREAT resume to land job interviews. A resume is a “commercial” which advertises your features and benefits. Take a look at my earlier blogs about resume writing (formatting a resume and two ways to boost your resume). Research shows that on average, a person who reads your resume spends less than 30 seconds “skimming” it before determining whether or not to interview you for a job. Thus, you need a resume that is concise, highlights the matters of importance for a particular job, and speaks to your qualifying experience. I like chronological resumes that stick to employment history, education, and technical skill sets. I also recommend that candidates always adjust their resume to suit the specific job to which they are applying. DO NOT use a one-size-fits-all resume and blast it out to every potential employer.
Third, and maybe most important, be smart about how you apply to jobs. In the Internet age, most people take the easy route and submit their resume online. Even if you are perfectly qualified for the job, it is very unlikely you’ll get a response. You are always better off looking for the side door into the company. Network, network and network some more! Reach out to former colleagues or classmates who may work at the company. Contact an employment agency or recruiter who specializes in your field. Use tools like LinkedIn to try and proactively network your way into the potential employer and access the decision makers. Although these methods require more effort, they are FAR more likely to land interviews.
If you’ve been scratching your head about how to get interviews, the advice above should definitely help. Don’t get discouraged if it takes time! Even in a good job market, it can sometimes be hard to get things started. Just remember – if you aren’t getting results doing what you are doing, don’t be afraid to change things up!