Posts

Why You Aren’t Getting Job Interviews

Why You Aren’t Getting Job Interviews

It was recently reported that there are approximately 10.9 million job openings in the United States currently. Yet, some candidates are still submitting resume after resume only to be met with radio silence. If you’re one of these candidates, it can be highly discouraging. But not to worry, there are a few areas you can address in order to increase your chances. Here are three reasons why you aren’t getting job interviews and how you can change that.

Your Resume Is Stale

Yes, we realize you probably already refreshed your resume. But the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So go ahead and give it another shot. Some things to look for: organization, relevance, and length. One good way to think outside the box is to share your resume with a friend, family member, or mentor. Have them give unfiltered feedback and ask if they would hire you. 

You Don’t Go The Extra Mile

While there are many open positions, there is also an influx of candidates making a move. We are in the midst of what some experts refer to as “The Great Resignation.” After staying put during periods of uncertainty, people are ready for change. So, for competitive jobs, there may be dozens of highly qualified applicants. This means you need to find a way to stand out. If there is a role you are really gunning for, go the extra mile. Be sure to submit an “optional” cover letter, seek out the hiring manager on LinkedIn, or craft a personal email to the HR team to accompany your application. The littlest bit of effort can leave a lasting impression during a competitive hiring process.

You’re Applying Too Late

With an influx of great candidates, companies aren’t having to wait long to hire. Jobs are filled mere days after being posted. After over a year of uncertainty and underemployment, management is eager to fill gaps on their teams. This means it’s essentially first-come, first-serve. The sooner you can apply for a job, the better. Which is all the more reason to have a refreshed resume ready to go!

Unfortunately, sometimes there are just better candidates. That’s why it’s in your best interest to keep looking, keep applying, and seek out jobs that are truly a great fit for your skillset and experience. 

How to Format Your Professional References

How to Format Your Professional References

If you are one of the many employed job seekers looking for greener pastures, it’s time to formulate a list of references. Your list must comprise of professional references that can eloquently speak to your credentials and qualifications for the job. It’s crucial to have this document prepared, so you don’t have to scramble to gather your contacts when a hiring manager requests them. If you are getting ready to create or review your professional references, here is why hiring managers ask for them and some tips on how to format them correctly.

Why do employers request professional references?

A hiring manager will ask you to provide a list of references at some point in the job application process. Typically, it’s towards the end of the hiring process, but some companies may ask for your references as you fill out your application. They want to hear from your peers, colleagues, or former managers to gauge how well you can perform the essential job duties. Also, your references serve as a guide to see how well you fit as a team player and co-worker. Your resume can provide insight into your capabilities, but your contacts can shed light on you as an employee.

What to include on your professional reference list

When submitting your professional references, we always recommend having them in a separate document. Listing your references on your resume can be distracting from all of your excellent qualifications and skillsets, and they take up valuable space.

When preparing your list of references, here is what you should include:

  • Include your name and contact details at the top of the page
  • Have three to four references (or however many the employer specifies)
  • Each reference should include their full name, job title, the company’s name and address, and their contact details
  • A brief sentence or two on your professional relationship

Professional reference example

Here is an example of how to properly format your professional references:

Jane Doe

Recruiting Manager

ABC Company

Chicago, IL 65432

(123) 456-7891 | jdoe@abccompany.com

Jane was my recruiting supervisor with my previous employer.

Now, all you have to do is repeat this process for your other references, and you will be in good shape!

Always ask for permission

Before you ever submit your list of references, you must ask each of them for permission. Most people would be happy to provide a recommendation for you to move onto another opportunity. However, the last thing you want to do is catch one of your references off guard. Even if they have given their permission in the past, it’s crucial to ask them before submitting again. Giving them a heads up will help each of your references be on the lookout for a phone call or an email to provide a recommendation. Plus, reaching out to each one allows you to double-check that you still have their current contact details to ensure there are no hiccups when your prospective employer begins to reach out to them.

Selecting the right references

Choosing the proper references for the job is just as important as formatting your list. Unfortunately, you cannot submit the same list over and over again. Just like your resume, you must tailor your references for the job at hand. You want to select people that will bolster your candidacy by elaborating on your skill sets, relevant projects, and qualifications. You never want to choose a colleague or former boss that cannot attest to your skills that are relevant to this job opportunity.

Need more job search advice?

So, here are a few easy tips to effectively format your professional references. If you are looking for more job search or interviewing advice, look at our candidate resources! We have an extensive collection of valuable tips, tricks, and guides to help you successfully navigate through your job search. Good luck, and happy hunting!

The Reason You’re Not Getting Interviews (That Has Nothing To Do With Your Resume)

The Reason You’re Not Getting Interviews (That Has Nothing To Do With Your Resume)

We are in a very interesting market currently. As companies ramp back up to pre-pandemic productivity, they are hiring like crazy. Likewise, candidates are finally feeling stable enough to look for new positions. This has created a fascinating whirlwind of hiring, making desirable jobs very competitive. If you’re one of the candidates dipping your toe in the job market waters, you’ve probably got your game face on. Your resume is refreshed and perfected, you’ve practiced your interviewing skills, and you know your worth when it comes to accepting an offer. While all of that is great, there could be one thing keeping you from getting interviews and landing the next step in your career: timeliness. Today we’re breaking down the benefits of getting your application in as soon as possible.

Why You Should Apply ASAP

In a competitive job market, recruiters receive hundreds, maybe even thousands, of job applications for one job. Unfortunately, they simply do not have time to comb through every single resume they receive. If they are especially motivated to fill a critical need, they will start scheduling interviews as they receive qualified resumes. This means that the sooner you apply, the more likely you will receive an invitation to interview. Keep in mind that this is especially true at large companies or for particularly competitive positions.

Additionally, a quick application shows that you are ready to work. It can indicate that this is a company you are particularly motivated to work at, or that the job matches your qualifications well, or even just that you really want the position!

How To Be One Of The First Applicants

First, you need to be aware of the opening. The best way to do this is to subscribe to job alerts. Head to sites like Indeed and LinkedIn and subscribe to relevant job alerts. Be sure to set your searches up in a way that will inform you of any job title relevant to your career goals. Additionally, check out recruiting company job boards (like JSG) as we often have exclusive job listings you won’t find anywhere else. Join our Talent Network here for up-to-date alerts on jobs in your area!

Second, you must have your job application materials ready at all times. Take a weekend to spruce up your job materials, including your resume and cover letter template. If you’re currently employed, head to your resume to update it every time you complete a big project. Reach out to your professional references now, so you can have them ready to submit. Yes, this can be a little awkward if you’re just testing the waters. However, just be upfront and honest with them about your career goals (and don’t use anyone at your current job!)

At the end of the day, keep in mind that this is not universal advice. There are plenty of great companies out there who will cull through every single resume they receive to give every applicant a fair shot at interviews, even if they apply in the final hour. However, it will never be detrimental to be one of the first applicants for a job, so why not go for it?

Is Writing Cover Letters Worth Your Time?

Is Writing Cover Letters Worth Your Time?

Cover letters are often considered the most despised step in a job application process. Many job seekers don’t see the point in submitting a cover letter anymore as there is some debate about whether hiring managers or recruiters even read them. Well, according to a recent study from ResumeGO, 87% of hiring managers still read cover letters, and the majority utilize them in making hiring decisions. So, is writing cover letters worth your time? Here are a few examples of when cover letters can help put you over the edge during the hiring process.

When do hiring managers or recruiters utilize cover letters?

Some hiring managers and recruiters dismiss the value of cover letters; however, many others find them useful in making their hiring decisions. It may depend on the industry or the seniority level (i.e., a senior leadership role versus an entry-level role). Here are a few examples of when cover letters are commonly read:

  • For candidates that have a strong background in another field or industry
  • For candidates that are on the fence about moving forward in the process
  • When a candidates’ resume raises questions
  • For the candidates at the top of the hiring managers’ list
  • When writing skills play a significant role in the job opening (for example, a communications or marketing professional)

There are other scenarios when hiring managers will read your cover letter, but these are the top five.

When your cover letter won’t get read

There are a few situations in which your cover letter won’t be read. It’s true; most hiring authorities will read a candidates’ resume before they even touch the cover letter. So, if you apply for a job that you are completely unqualified for, don’t be surprised if your cover letter gets skipped over. Another scenario where your cover letter will get pushed to the wayside is if your resume has poor formatting or is riddled with grammatical errors. If your resume is a hot mess or has tons of spelling errors, a hiring manager will likely move on to the next candidate.

A final reason a hiring manager will ignore your cover letter is if it isn’t tailored. A hiring professional can tell after reading your cover letter for a few seconds if you took the time to personalize it for the position. For example, when the letter isn’t addressed to the hiring manager (to whom it may concern won’t cut it) or the opening line is too generic. If you don’t spend the time to tailor it for the position, then hiring managers won’t take the time to read it.

In other words, if you are not qualified or your application materials are not up to par, then yes, your cover letter won’t get read.

So, what’s the verdict?

Yes, some hiring professionals dismiss cover letters while others only use them in certain situations. But the verdict here is they cannot hurt your application if they are thoughtfully crafted. If you are qualified for the job and your resume reads well, there is a substantial chance it will be reviewed. Your cover letter can add clarity to your candidacy and even help propel you above your competition. This will be even more important in today’s market, where there are many more job seekers out there. Therefore, writing a cover letter is worth your time; however, you must tailor it and spend time to create a document that sheds some light on your skillsets.

The Single Best Way To Submit Your Application Materials

The Single Best Way To Submit Your Application Materials

While many companies utilize ATS to acquire applications, it’s also popular to email them directly to the hiring manager or recruiter. If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to submit your application materials via email, it’s essential that you get it right! Here are the things you need to keep in mind to email your application materials successfully.

Nail The Subject Line

Hiring Managers get a LOT of emails. That’s why it’s imperative that you include your name and the title of the job you’re applying for in the subject line. This will catch their attention and allow them to categorize your application correctly.

Kick It Off With A Proper Introduction

In the past, it was considered proper to address emails with “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.” However, the job process has modernized quite a bit lately. Hiring teams prefer to have a little more of the human element in their hiring process. Jump on LinkedIn to do a quick search for the hiring manager’s name. If you can’t dig up a name, go with something personable yet professional like “Dear Hiring Team” or “Hi JSG Accounting Team.”

Reference How You Heard About The Position

Candidate source is a very valuable metric for recruiters. It will earn you instant brownie points if you mention how you heard about the position! Additionally, if you were referred by someone who works there, it will establish that connection right off the bat.

Show Your Excitement

Enthusiasm is extremely underrated. Don’t be afraid to share your excitement when you submit your application materials! For example, state, “When I came across this position, it immediately caught my attention because I’ve admired your company for a long time!”

Close Strong

In your closing paragraph, explicitly state your interest in the next steps. Keep it simple and confident. For example, “Thank you for taking the time to review my application. I look forward to hearing from you and learning more about this opportunity.”

Don’t Forget Your Contact Information!

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how often people forget it! Just because your contact info is on your resume or cover letter doesn’t mean it’s enough. If a hiring manager wants to contact you, their first stop will be your submittal email! Be sure to include your full name, email address, and phone number.

Your application materials speak for themselves, so keep your submittal email simple. Stick to these guidelines when you submit your application materials via email, and you’ll exponentially increase your chances of hearing back from the hiring manager.

Interested in more job search advice? Explore the rest of our resources here!

How To Navigate A Lengthy Job Application Process

How To Navigate A Lengthy Job Application Process

There’s nothing worse than uploading your resume during a job application, only to be met with a request to fill out all of the same details that were included on your resume. We know it’s frustrating! However, there are a few things you can do to make the process a bit less arduous. We’re diving into the reasons why some job applications are so complicated and how you can make it a bit easier for you.

Copy And Paste From Your Resume

While it is annoying, having to fill out the job application is practically inevitable. Having to fill out hundreds of separate boxes is a recipe for spelling errors. To avoid making any mistakes or typing inconsistencies, simply copy and paste from your resume! This will ensure everything is correct and in line with the information you have on your resume.

Save Your Answers To Any Additional Questions

Often, job application forms will include additional questions such as “Detail your experience with XYZ,” or “Provide any additional reasons why we should hire you.” Just in case you come across these questions again, it’s helpful to have an answer ready to go! As a bonus, if you save them in a Word document, you’ll get the added benefit of a spelling and grammar check.

Skip A Traditional Job Application Process Altogether

That’s right; it IS possible to skip the full job application process altogether! When you partner with a recruiting firm to find your next position, they champion you straight to the hiring manager. You will still need to complete a customized resume, but you can skip filling out never-ending forms. Contact us today if you’re ready to launch your career to the next level!

We understand it’s frustrating to have to deal with a lengthy job application process. However, sometimes they are necessary to help sort through thousands of resumes! Change your thinking to this being an opportunity to show your strengths and stand out from the competition.

sea of applicants

How to Stand Out in a Sea of Applicants

Millions of job seekers are filling out application after application in an attempt to find the next step in their career journey. It can be demoralizing to spend hours filling out the same information (work experience, education, references, skills, etc.) and striking out repeatedly. Most of us, including myself, have been there. It’s frustrating and makes you feel defeated. To mitigate the pitfalls that come with job applications, you need to think outside the box. Here are a few things you can do to stand out in a sea of applicants and land the job of you deserve.

Leverage your network

One of the best steps you can take to propel your job search is to leverage your professional network. For some reason, people are afraid to ask for help. It may be a pride thing, but you should never be ashamed to reach out to your network for a helping hand. If you are applying for a job and know someone that works at that company, do not be afraid to ask for them to make an introduction. Send them a quick email, shoot them a text, or pick up the phone and call them. Tell them which job you are applying for and see if they can connect you with the hiring manager. Who knows, they may even be able to give you a solid recommendation!

On the other hand, if you don’t even know where to start your job search, alert your network that you are on the hunt. Write a post on LinkedIn to let your network know you are looking for a new opportunity. You never know what’s out there if you do not make it know that you are looking!

Put in that extra work

If you want to stand out in a sea of applicants, you have to be willing to put in the extra work. Trust us; it will pay off! Tailor your resume for each position instead of submitting the same old resume over and over. Really read the job description and identify the key points the hiring manager desires. Taking a few extra minutes to tweak your resume to fit the position better can make all the difference (and help you get past an applicant tracking system!).

Are you crafting cover letters for your job applications? Sometimes cover letters are required while other times there are optional. And you might be giving yourself a high-five in your mind when you see the word “optional;” but if you really want to land the job, optional is not an option. Cover letters are your opportunity to show some of your personality. Sure, your resume can speak for your education, work experience, and skillsets. But your cover letter is your opportunity to really sell yourself to the hiring manager. It’s your chance to bridge the gap between your qualifications and why you are an excellent fit for the company. So, instead of passing on the cover letter, spend the time to craft one that will make your application rise above the competition!

cover letters

Do Cover Letters Still Matter?

In a world where we can apply to a job with a single click of a button, it’s becoming incredibly easy to apply for dozens of jobs in a matter of minutes. And today’s technology sparks an interesting question to many job seekers (especially the younger generations) – do cover letters still matter? Are they still important? The short answer is yes; they can still be an essential component of your job application and a great one-two punch with your resume.

Are cover letters still necessary?

Not too long ago, especially when the job market wasn’t as hot, cover letters were almost mandatory. In today’s market, they may not be necessary, but they are still a great addition to your application. A cover letter intends to introduce yourself as an applicant, highlight your skills, showcase some of your achievements, and briefly explain why you’re a good fit for the team and the position. And you may feel that this isn’t essential in today’s tight talent market, but a recent study illustrates that 26% of recruiters still read cover letters. Another survey revealed that 49% of hiring managers believe cover letters are a great way to bolster a job seeker’s application. So, regardless of what you think, recruiters and employers still value them.

Why are cover letters still important?

Cover letters are a great supplemental resource to reinforce your application. They are a great way to illustrate your soft skills that may be difficult to showcase on your resume. Your cover letter is also an opportunity to explain your passion for a particular industry or career path; it’s also a chance for you to describe situations like job gaps or lack of experience to your prospective employer. Essentially, a cover letter is a great way to highlight anything unique about you and your work experience.

What should they include?

Now that you’re convinced that a cover letter is an excellent asset to your job application, what should you include in it? Here is a brief overview of what they should incorporate:

  • Your contact information
  • Address the letter to the appropriate hiring manager
  • State which job you’re are applying for
  • Explain why you want the job and what you bring to the table
  • Demonstrate that you understand what the company does or stands for and how you fit into that picture

So, whether a job posting directly states a cover letter is mandatory or not, it is always a smart idea to include one. But if you’re going to submit one, ensure you do it right. Unfortunately, you cannot submit the same one over and over. You must tailor it to each position to really impress your future employer.

Ready to kick off your job search? Check out our available opportunities! JSG is ready to help you find that new job opportunity in 2020.

Before Applying for a Job

4 Things You Must Do Before Applying for a Job

Before Applying for a Job

In today’s candidate-driven market, there are probably dozens of job opportunities around every corner. Whether you’re a mechanical engineer or an aviation technician, the market is hot, and it’s tempting to see what’s out there. However, before you even think about submitting your job application, here are four things you must do before applying.

Read over the entire job posting

The first thing you will want to do is ensure you read over the whole job posting. This is essential for two reasons:

1)     To understand if this is an excellent fit for you and make sure you actually want the job

2)     So you can tailor your application materials to fit the job description

Hiring managers like to narrow down their pool of candidates by providing precise instructions and details in the job description. Are they asking for a cover letter? Do they want samples of your work? If you skim over the job posting, you may miss vital details that can filter you out of the candidate race.

Research the company

After you find a job posting that you want to respond to, take a few minutes to research the company. This should be a pretty painless step in the application process. Knowing more about the company can be a huge advantage to you as a candidate. It will help you craft your resume and cover letter by understanding their business, mission and vision, and the company culture. It will also help you decide if the company is even the right fit for you and your career goals.

Tailor your resume

If you take the time to review the job posting carefully, you will be able to better craft your resume. Even in this tight market, you should always customize your resume for each job you apply to. Even if they are in the same industry or the same type of position, each employer is looking for something different. And guess what? It is usually spelled out in the job description. So, while you’re reviewing that job posting, highlight the most critical components of the description and be sure your resume fits those well.

Clean up your references

Many employer applications put you through the wringer. They collect your resume, cover letter, and a bunch of other details about your career. Moreover, many of which also ask for your references. Well, before you submit the contact details of your close professional colleagues, you should always give them a heads up. Ensure you still have their permission to use them as a reference and that their contact information is accurate. Let them know you are applying so they can be on the lookout for a call or email they otherwise may not be expecting. The last thing you want to do is have a prospective employer catch one of your references off guard!

references

The Ultimate Guide To Job Application References

references

It’s rare these days to encounter a hiring process that doesn’t include a reference check. However, providing great job application references can be a little trickier than you initially think! Follow these guidelines to painlessly check this job search item off your to-do list.

Choose your references wisely

It’s a good idea to have three go-to job application references on hand. Typically, you’ll want to include a mix of current or previous managers and coworkers. Obviously, you’ll want to choose people with whom you had a strong working relationship. Make sure to choose references that will not only speak of you in glowing terms, but will also be able to speak in-depth about your work experience, performance, and work ethic.

Get permission to list people as references

It is absolutely essential to gain permission before listing anyone as a reference. The last thing you want is to catch them off guard, and as a result, receive a less-than-stellar reference. It’s also a great opportunity to network with your professional connections and stay in touch!

Don’t list your references on your resume

This is a big recruiting no-no. Listing job application references uses valuable space on your resume, hiring managers may contact them without your permission, and it takes the focus away from you. There’s also no need to include “references available upon request.” It is automatically implied and not necessary.

Provide your references with information

Make sure your references know what to expect. Sometimes it may be a simple employment verification, sometimes employers may ask them to submit a full letter of recommendation. If you must submit a letter of recommendation, ensure that your contact has all of the details including what to cover, where to send it, and when it’s due.

Provide them with the title of the role you’re applying for and a copy of your resume. The more information they have about your background and goals, the better!

Follow up

Don’t forget to follow up with your references once your job search is complete! Whether you were offered the job or not, your references are now invested in your career journey and deserve an update. Always include a quick note of gratitude for taking the time to speak on your behalf. You never know when you may need to use them as a reference again!