You have a great resume and you’ve applied to multiple jobs, but haven’t gotten a response. What’s the problem? It might be that you’re not following this one simple rule. You might not be following the directions on the job application. It sounds so obvious and so simple, but it’s far easier to mess up than you might think.
Don’t be an overachiever
Career Builder estimates that 44% of millennials ages 25-34 have a side hustle and take on multiple roles at once. You might be one of those who constantly strives to do more and put your best foot forward, but this is not the place to do it. When a job application asks for a specific set of documents or portfolio pieces, provide exactly what is asked and nothing more.
It sounds tempting to go above and beyond what is asked of you, but what this really does is create more work for those on the other end. With an average of 250 applicants per job application, (one Google recruiter estimated that the company receives around three million resumes annually) recruiters and hiring managers already have enough information to sift through. Adding just one more document or piece of information exponentially adds to their workload, which won’t necessarily work in your favor. Instead of including additional information or sample work, try to include the most pertinent information that effectively highlights your achievements in the least amount of space.
Provide the right information
If the job application asks you to discuss a specific detail or why you would be great at a specific role, make sure that you actually discuss that information. It’s easy to get side tracked and talk about other details or qualifications, but it’s crucial to follow the directions and include the information specifically noted in the job description.
For instance, if a job description asks you to show how you will help the company build on industry trends and lead the team in customer satisfaction, highlight your achievements that reflect your ability to do this. Discuss times when you used innovative tactics to excel in customer service. The more specific and relatable information you can provide, the better.
For best results, create SOAR stories that directly relate to the information or qualifications requested in the job description. This will help you get noticed, and will also help prepare you for a potential interview.
Read everything thoroughly
"We are continuously anticipating what we will see, hear or feel next," Dr. Lars Muckli, a researcher at the University of Glasgow's Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology told Phys.org. This is why it’s so easy to miss something crucial when reading a job description. We often anticipate and make assumptions about what is being asked of us instead of actually looking at the text. Every single job application is different, and it’s important to remember that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to your resume. Make sure you read the job description and application thoroughly and make note of specific requirements, requests, or directions.
Highlighting key words or phrases throughout the job description is a great way to ensure that you’re including exactly what is being asked of you, and it will also help you create a more customized resume. By noting the specifics of the job description, you will be able to integrate these into your resume and cover letter to create a more effective and searchable document.
It’s easy to feel like more is better, but when it comes to applying for jobs, it’s not. If you’re not following the directions and reading the specifications of the job application, you may be costing yourself the role. Do your homework, send in exactly what is asked of you, and create a concise document that highlights exactly how amazing you are. It’s better to give one example of a time you achieved greatness, than to drone on about multiple vague experiences.
A native San Franciscan, Michele Lando is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and founder of writestylesonline.com. She has a passion for helping others present the best version of themselves, both on paper and in person, and works to polish individuals' application package and personal style. Aiming to help create a perfect personal branding package, Write Styles presents tips to enhance your resume, style, and boost your confidence.