3 job-hunting strategies that you think work, but really don’t
Recruiter Ellen Kuntzmann of Integrity Staffing Solutions reveals the most common mistakes she sees job seekers make.
You want to do everything possible to land your next job. But when it comes to job searching, there are instances where doing too much can be just as bad as doing too little.
In my job as director of talent acquisition at Integrity Staffing Solutions—a Delaware-based firm that places people in light industrial, financial, administrative and clerical roles—I interact with hundreds of job applicants every month; and I know which job-seeking strategies work—and which do not.
Here are the top three tactics that can hurt your chances of getting a job offer.
1. Applying to every job you see
You may figure the more resumes you send out, the better your odds are that one of them will get a response. That’s only true if all the resumes you submit are for jobs you can actually do. Applying indiscriminately to every position being advertised accomplishes little more than wasting your time and the recruiter’s.
A better way: Use your time more effectively by narrowing your focus to jobs you are qualified for, and then tailoring your resume for each company to ensure that it gets past their screening filters. (More about that below.)
2. Overloading your resume
Many job hunters think the more words they cram into their resume, the more impressive it will look.
There are two things wrong with that idea. First, in this tough job market, employers want a specialist to fill a particular niche, as opposed to a candidate who claims they can do everything. Second, recruiters just don't have time to wade through long resumes, which means the short ones get read first and more often. You may indeed have the exact skills required, but if they're buried in a mountain of irrelevant details, chances are the recruiter will never see them.
A better way: Create a custom resume for each job application, in which all the skills and experiences listed on your resume actually relate to the job description. When possible, use the same keywords and phrases that appear in the job description. The company’s resume-screening software is likely searching for those exact keywords in the resumes being submitted.
3. Mistaking nagging for enthusiasm
It’s true that you’re expected to follow up at key stages in the recruiting process. But nobody wants you to contact them every single day and remind them of your interest, get a progress report, share additional information about yourself or learn more about the job. That's not being enthusiastic—that’s being a pest. Equally irritating actions include sending a gift, making a Facebook friend request and overnighting or hand-delivering materials.
A better way: Two or three days after your resume has been received, make your first follow-up phone call (preferred) or email (might land in the junk folder). If there’s no response for a week, make a second contact attempt. And that's it. The same goes for the post-interview thank-you/follow-up.
Needless to say, as someone who has a vested interest in getting people hired, I discourage the three counterproductive job-hunting practices. It’s much better for me, my candidates and my clients if I can devote my time and effort to those individuals who do things the better way as I’ve outlined above. And I believe that just about every potential employer you come across will feel the same way.
Ellen Kuntzmann is the director of talent acquisition at Integrity Staffing Solutions, one of the country’s largest industrial staffing firms. She has over 16 years of recruiting experience. She is a proud Delaware native and University of Delaware graduate.