You know the drill. You’ve found a posting that you feel you’re qualified for, so you apply. You spiff up your resume, write a cover letter that is specific to this job, and submit all of the required documentation (sometimes more than they need to make an initial determination–but you digress and do it anyway). Click submit. Receive an automated email saying, “Thank you for your interest in our company. We will review your submission and get in touch with you if you fit our needs.”
TICK, TOCK. TICK, TOCK. Days pass. Weeks pass. Months pass. NOTHING! Multiply that by the hundreds of applications you have filed. How frustrating is that?! I wish I had a really cut and dry answer to “Should I even bother applying?” I have an answer, but it’s just not that simple.
Let’s take a look at 3 Questions I believe you should ask yourself before deciding to invest in a company’s application process.
1. Is the job in your immediate field?
Are you doing this very thing as we speak or at least did and have been laid off or lost your job because of a business closing. If Yes, APPLY. If No, consider the work invested in applying vs. the chances of selection and determine if it’s worth the time it consumes to apply (apply this No option to all the questions here).
2. Is the job within a reasonable commuting distance?
I haven’t worked in HR directly, but it seems logical that companies would want to hire those who are closest to them. There are just fewer issues that way. No need to even discuss relocation, differences in cost of living that require more negotiation on salary than they would typically have to provide, start dates that may change due to logistics–you get the idea.If Yes to 1 + 2, then APPLY. If Yes to 1, but not 2, APPLY if the job posting encourages potential relocation candidates.
3. Do you meet ALL of the requirements?
There was a time when you could apply for jobs with only 85% of the requirements and still be considered, but unless you are a national superstar in your field, chances are your having less than 100% of the required skills will eliminate you from consideration. You have to keep in mind that the employment pool is full of people with advanced degrees and specific experience. Do you really want to spend time applying for positions that you have to convince someone you would be a good fit for when the odds are stacked against you? Stick with those that you can say yes to. If Yes to 1+2+3, absolutely apply. If No, save it for the jobs that you do meet the requirements for.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to give your resume the attention that it needs before applying. Many will lose the opportunity to be considered simply because the resume doesn’t show you are the industry ready, local, candidate with 100% of the requirements. It truly is worth your investment to hire someone to write your resume together with you. Think about it, what is $250 compared to tens (in some cases hundreds) of thousands of $$ anyway.
Wow! Have you ever been just going through life and weeks actually pass before you realize you haven’t posted to your blog? It seems impossible. It seems like I just posted. Please forgive me. I’ve obviously been very tied up with work.
I just finished a new Executive Resume job for someone in Oregon. Employment document preparation is something that is my niche. I never really considered that I would be referred to people across the country. I think it’s probably one of those tasks that most people hate to do because it’s difficult to promote yourself. I have learned by working with others that many people undersell themselves, which could be why employers choose the competition instead.
Since I’m writing about employment documentation, I’ll share on that topic today. Don’t look at a resume as a “proof of employment.” Most of the resumes I get look like a time card with a brief description. The purpose of a resume is to convince the employer that you are the best person for the position. If you’re applying for a marketing position, why would they care that you worked for Dunkin’ Donuts? unless of course you handled something related to marketing there. I advocate the use of an employment history table where you would list each place you worked, the titles worked, and the start and ending date of employment; however, outside of how customers found you to be the most helpful on your job, I would most likely not even mention a position that doesn’t include duties that would directly relate to the position you are applying for. I wouldn’t completely disregard a position that seems unrelated either. Consider the microskills necessary to do the job.
This may or may not be a “technical” term. It’s the way that I describe the things you are capable of doing that aren’t necessarily on a job description and aren’t obvious to those around you. It’s those things that you make look really easy. For example, you may be a killer organizer and your ability to organize (even in your mind) makes you the go-to person to get certain things done. No one really understands why they come to you for the work. They just know that you’re the one that is able to get it accomplished. That is a VERY important skill. Be sure to brag about it on your resume. This is the area that most people undersell. Sometimes, it takes someone like me to pull this type of information out of you. If that is the case, then don’t hesitate to hire someone to write you a winning resume.
I’ll be happy to answer your questions about employment document preparation. What issues do you generally have when working on your resume?