How to get more interviews in your job search

Richard Bolles, job search guru and author of What Color Is Your Parachute? predicts that you can expect to look for work in 1 to 2 months for every $ 10,000 you hope to earn. So if you are looking for a $ 40,000 a year position, you can look for 4-8 months to get it. Back when the economy was roaring, the length of the job search would have seemed outrageous, but now, many people would be happy to search for just 4-8 months.
Now the question is: How can you limit the length of your job search regardless of what is happening with the local economy?
The answer to that question depends on the strength of your job search campaign. Take a look at these common job search problems. If your campaign suffers from any of these symptoms, try one or more of the suggested tips for each one.
If you mail resumes but don’t get interviews:
o Your campaign may not be intense enough. Remember that looking for work is a full-time job. Increase your employer’s phone, fax, mail and email contacts to 10-20 per week. Gather job opportunities from a wider variety of sources than you’ve been using, such as networks, newspaper ads, and Internet sites. But most important of all is taking advantage of the hidden job market.
Bottom line: Getting interviews from resumes is, in part, a numbers game. Reach out to more employers to increase the odds in your favor.
o Your resume may reveal that you do not have the skills employers want. Get them! A lean economy means employers can have the skills, credentials, and experience they want, so why argue with them? Volunteer, take a class, or create a self-study program to learn what you need to learn. Or, take a lower-level position that will prepare you to advance to the job you really want.
Bottom line: it’s up to you to qualify for the job you want. Show your initiative and sign up for that class now, then be sure to claim your new skills on your resume.
o You may not be communicating with employers who buy the skills you sell. First, identify the three skills you possess that you most want to market to employers. Second, combine those skills with three different types of positions that commonly use your preferred skills. Next, link each of the positions you identify to specific local industries and employers that are hiring people with the skills you are marketing. Then create different versions of the resume for each of the types of positions you want to search. Make sure each version highlights and documents its ability to do what it says it can do.
Bottom line: different employers need different things from their employees. Know what you have to sell and sell it to the companies that want it. Avoid at all costs generalizing your resume with clich├ęs and vague statements.
o Your resume may miscommunicate what you have to offer. If you have weaknesses in your employment timeline or if you are changing careers, you will need to be very careful in structuring your resume content to overcome any perceived deficiencies. Create a powerful career summary statement that emphasizes your top skills, qualities, credentials, experience, and goals. Group your most salable skills in an achievement section and display those that use numbers, concrete nouns, and clear indications of the results you achieved. Use company research and employer job description to focus your revised resume on company needs.
Bottom line: whoever decides whether or not to interview you will make that decision in as little as 15 to 25 seconds. Be clear, organized, and achievement-focused to use those seconds to convince the employer to interview you. If you are receiving interviews but there are no job openings:
o May have the basic skills the employer needs, but not the advanced skills they prefer. Review the second point above and act on the suggestions presented. Once you’ve upgraded or expanded your skills through additional education, experience, or self-study, start building a career success portfolio to demonstrate your success to prospective employers. This will also help you answer the behavior-based interview questions that are all the rage these days.
Bottom line: it is up to you to advance your career. Find out what’s missing, then learn the skill or build the skill.
o He lacks strong self-marketing skills and this is shown in his interviews. To improve the quality of your interpersonal communications and interview responses, take a class. Invite someone to role-play an interview with you. Practice answering behavior-based interview questions. Arrange to participate in a mock, videotaped interview. To project your personality in a positive way: select three to five about you that you want the employer to know about you at the end of the interview. Think of ways to integrate those things into your answers to common interview questions. Learn about personalities other than yours. Smile and relax! Make strong but not excessive eye contact. Go into the interview armed with 5-8 words or phrases that positively describe your workplace personality and use those words or phrases throughout the interview. Match your communication style to the interviewer’s questioning style. Know your resume and defend it. Keep your answers short and always to the point.
Bottom line: your interview performance serves as a preview of your job performance, so project to the best of your ability. Research, practice and sell! Looking for work is making mistakes. The question is, are you learning from the job search mistakes you have made?
Evaluate your search every two to three months so that you can adjust your campaign on a regular basis. Probably tune up your car regularly. Why not do the same with your job search? With the right knowledge and the right tools, there will be nothing to stop you!

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