The state of today’s economy has many job seekers frustrated with their career search, and as a result, many have relegated themselves to sitting at their computers and blindly applying for job after job with no luck. This approach is understandable given the economic circumstances; however, it may not be the best use of your time. Instead of casting a wide net hoping to land an interview, your efforts could be better spent narrowing your focus and customizing each application/resume you submit.
Take the time to research individual positions that interest you. When you find one, tailor your application/resume specifically to that opening. Sure it is going to take more effort, but the extra time you spend may make the difference, and rest assured others who are applying for the same position are taking the time before submitting.
To tailor your resume, begin by “really” reading the job description. Pick out key words listed in the required qualifications and make sure you use the exact words when modifying your resume. This shows attention to detail and will help you make it through automated sorting filters many HR professionals use to help with the influx of resumes they receive.
If you find a position on a general job posting Web site, do a little additional online investigating and see if it is also posted on the company’s Web site. You may find additional information about the position such as contact information for the hiring manager, additional fields to submit information (such as a cover letter) and a salary range. At a minimum you will be able to research the company and gain some insight you can incorporate into your application/resume.
If you have the opportunity to post a cover letter, don’t waste it. Many job seekers will bypass this option because it requires additional work, but it provides you with a great opportunity to stand out. One warning -- make sure your cover letter is error free and written correctly. A poorly written cover letter can prevent you from getting a job opportunity.
By narrowing your focus, you provide yourself with a more manageable number of companies to follow-up with once you submit your application/resume. With fewer numbers, you can personalize your follow up e-mail or call to the individual recruiter, if you have that information. Make sure you adhere to the guidelines stipulated in the job posting. If it says no phones calls just send an e-mail, and don’t call.
If you are going to focus your job search and take the time to tailor your resume, choose positions that truly interest you. It may be the job responsibilities that grab your attention, the starting salary, the location or the required skills set desired. No matter what it is, if it interests you, focusing your efforts will be worthwhile.