Everyone tells you that employment is picking up but you don't see it. Maybe it's time to do a reality check. Maybe it's time to go back to basics.
Your resume: Rethink your resume. Is it really that good? Is it as good as it can be? Probably not. Have you checked and re-checked that you have everything in it to indicate to the hiring manager that you are the candidate of choice? What are your achievements? Are they listed? Or have you instead just listed your job duties? Think about it from the hiring manager’s standpoint for a moment. She or he wants to know that you have the skills needed to do the job. Just because you've done other jobs in the past does not really communicate to her the skills that you can bring to the particular job that s/he wants to fill. So go back, review your resume, and retool and recharge as required. Then send it out. Tailor each resume to each job. Take your time. You only need one job. Sending out a scattershot of resumes does not help you. Be precise and be careful. There is no easy or quick way to do this if you are going to do it right.
Your cover letter: Make sure that you can write a good cover letter. It needs to be short and to the point. It needs to be grammatically accurate and professional. You need to capture the hiring manager's attention so he will review your resume. Without a review, you never get an interview. Your cover letter says a lot about you. Make sure that it’s perfect. Also, do not just reiterate your resume. The resume speaks for itself, as should your cover letter.
Feedback: Get some help. No one can be fully objective about themselves. Get the input of people who know what they're talking about. Do not ask friends and family unless they are qualified to make a judgment–an objective business judgment–about your resume and cover letter. You need to go to a professional who can tell you if you're on the right track. Getting poor advice from people who do not know what they are talking about is worse than no advice!
Type of Jobs: Obviously, you want to apply to jobs that you feel match your job skills. If you are applying outside your comfort zone–in terms of your experience or skill set, you need to justify to a potential employer that you can do the job. You need to sell yourself as a "good" match. In order to do so you need to rethink your skill set and apply it to the job in question. You genuinely need to believe, in your heart, that this is a job that you can do–and be excited about it (if possible). In these circumstances, professional input in customizing your resume is truly essential. Your resume will now have to be specially tailored for a job for which you have no basic experience–but which you think you can do because of your prior work history and the skills you have acquired. This involves a different cover letter and a different resume. Being aware of all of these factors is the first step in getting yourself a job in this increasingly competitive environment.
Welcome to the ASAP Circle, a community platform for peer-to-peer conversation on trending topics, professional challenges, and shared experiences. We even have designated spaces for weekly Tuesday Coffee Breaks.