When you’ve put lots of time and effort into writing the perfect resume, you need to make sure it gets in front of decision makers if you want to land job interviews. We’ve all experienced the feeling of sending off job applications online and never getting a response – it almost feels like your resume is just disappearing into a black hole – which is very frustrating.
When you are applying for roles on job websites, your resume will not usually be delivered directly to the inbox of the person making the final hiring decision. There will often be a chain like the one below.
In order to secure a job interview, your resume needs to impress everybody in the chain so that they pass it on to the next person. Or in some circumstances you may be able to find a way to remove some links from the chain and get your resume directly in front of the decision maker.
Either way, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that your resume reaches the right person.
Introduce Yourself Properly
Although it’s probably been said a thousand times; a good cover note is still essential when applying for jobs. Without a good introduction, you may find that your resume falls at the first hurdle and doesn’t even get opened by the first person in the chain.
A good cover note should be professional and friendly, whilst encouraging readers to open your resume.
Address the recruiter by name: If you can find the recruiter’s name then address them by it to create a more personal tone. If it’s not on the job advert then you could try digging around on the company website or on LinkedIn.
Be polite: You’re much more likely to get a response from any email you send if you are polite and friendly. Open with a well-wishing phrase such as “hope you’re well” and thank them for considering your application.
Show your suitability: The best way to encourage a recruiter to look at your resume is by summing up what qualifies you for the role. Link your skills and knowledge to the job advert requirements and keep it short and sharp. Remember to focus on what you have to offer the employer and not what you want from them at this stage.
Don’t use automated job website messages: When applying to lots of jobs it can be tempting to simply hit the apply button and send the pre-populated message found on most sites.
They look something like this:
“Hi – I would like to apply to job ref:10304004”
This sort of message doesn’t look hugely attractive to a potential employer and creates the impression that you haven’t really made an effort.
If you craft an effective cover note, you’re much more likely to have your resume opened by the initial recruiter and have it passed down the chain to the decision maker
Tailor Your Resume
If your resume is going to impress everybody in the recruitment chain, through to the hiring manager, then it needs to show each person that you are a good fit for their vacancy.
Although your resume is likely to be focused towards the general type of jobs you are applying for, you can always improve it one step further by tailoring it to suit each individual job you apply to.
Read each job advert you apply for carefully and make a note of any requirements where:
- You have the skills but haven’t mentioned them on your resume
- You have the skills but you’re hiding them at the bottom of your resume
Before you apply, take those skills and tweak your resume by adding and highlighting them at the top (in your profile and recent roles) so that readers can instantly see that you have the skills to perform in the role.
Find Decision Maker Names
If you’re struggling to get a response when applying to adverts on job websites, then seeking out the names of decision makers and contacting them directly can by-pass the chain and help prompt a response.
When applying directly to a company (not through an agency) you have two methods of finding who the hiring manager is.
- The company website: Browse through the about us section and you may be able to find a page listing all employees and even email addresses if you’re lucky.
- LinkedIn: Head over to LinkedIn and use all of the details from the job advert to find out who some of the most likely people to be involved in the hiring process are. Connect with them and message them directly on LinkedIn to ensure that you are on their radar.
Once you have found some names and contact details of the decision makers or recruiters for your vacancy, follow up with them if you haven’t received a response within a few days. A quick email or call can ensure that you get noticed and also shows that you are proactive and keen. Sometimes your resume will simply be missed by recruiters amongst other applications, so keeping a record of all the jobs you have applied for and following up with non-responders can be a great way to push your resume closer to the hiring decision maker.
If you’re struggling to get your resume in front of decision makers, then try adopting some of the strategies above to increase your interview request rate.
About the author: Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of London CV writing service StandOut CV.