Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Four Ways To Figure Out What’s Going Wrong With Your Job Search

Posted by sweens on August 25, 2015

Written By:  Elena Bajic

You’re good at what you do and have plenty of experience, but for some reason, your job search has stalled. The problem probably isn’t your background, especially if you’ve got a solid track record. More likely the problem has more to do with how you present yourself, both on paper and in person. An example of how this works can be seen with the consulting firm Deloitte . They employ about 50,000 professionals – most of them accounting, auditing and tax professionals—and they receive about 500,000 applications a year.

With high competition, every step in the application process matters; opinions are formed at every step, and each interaction is an opportunity to impress or be eliminated from the process.

With that in mind, your best bet is to diagnose the problem and hone in on what needs to change for you to get interviews and get hired. Here are four of the main reasons a job search goes south, and how you can overcome them:

  1. You can’t get a first interview.
    The problem here is your cover letter and resume. A great cover letter can set you apart, giving a glimpse into your personality and motivation for the work—things that can’t be gleaned from a resume. You cover letter should show your personal interest in the specific position for which you’re applying. If you have a special qualification or quality that would make you perfect for the job, this is the time to talk about it. One thing you don’t want to do is summarize your experience—let the resume take care of that; the cover letter is the place for information that isn’t on the resume.

As for the resume, make sure you are using it to outline your achievements, not just list your responsibilities. As much as you can, quantify what you’ve accomplished, like the percentage revenue gain or increase in productivity. The resume needs to clearly—and quickly– show your strengths right at the top, especially those that match the job for which you’re applying. Make sure you’re using key words and phrases from the job posting, to show how well you match the required skills.

2. You can’t get past the first interview.

Time to brush up on your interviewing skills. Start by making sure you research the company, the person with whom you’re interviewing and the job itself. Your confidence and ability to give smart answers to questions during the interview is based, in part, on that information.

Prepare and rehearse a two-minute elevator pitch about yourself and your experience and answers to some common interview questions.  Be very upbeat and positive during the interview, using strong eye contact and a firm handshake. Don’t ask about salary, benefits or vacation time—not at this juncture. (That comes later, when you’re close to receiving an offer.) Most important, ask insightful questions. Your interest in the company and the job will be judged by the quality of the questions you ask.

  1. You can’t get past the second round of interviews.

There’s usually one overriding reason for this: confidence. When you’re nervous or doubting yourself that shows in your body language, but you will inspire confidence in your abilities if you act confident. At Ivy Exec, our recruiters often time work with candidates, preparing them for each step of the process. If you lack confident, faking confidence with “power poses” can really help improve your performance. Try striking a power pose for a few minutes before your interview, and practice acting self confident in front of a mirror.

  1. You made it to the final rounds but didn’t get an offer letter.

During negotiations over salary and benefits remind those doing the hiring how the company stands to profit from your skills and experience. When it comes time to talk turkey, make sure you’ve done your research and that you know what your skills and experience are worth in the current market.  Remember to look at the big compensation picture—don’t focus only on the base salary. Compensation can include valuable options that aren’t related to salary, including a flexible work schedule or tuition reimbursement. And if the role you’re applying for suits your long-term career goals, that may trump your short-term financial goals.

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