If you are on a job hunt, it is not uncommon at all to be applying for several job roles at multiple companies at one time. However, sending several applications at one time translates to multiple versions of a resume and cover letter. Using a stock resume for all your job applications may speed up your process but it is also likely to hurt your chances of moving further along the job hunt as well.
In an increasingly competitive job market, merely sending through a standard resume for all your job roles – which are likely to vary in terms of skills and responsibilities from company to company – does not help you stand out as an applicant. When recruiters receive thousands of applications every day, they are hardly going to notice a cookie-cutter resume when they see one.
Aside from tailoring each application, the varying waiting time in hearing back from potential employers only makes the process that much more confusing as you struggle to remember which jobs you have applied for. With many moving parts, it is easy for applications to get disorderly. It pays to be organised when attempting to secure a coveted job role. With that in mind, here are the 4 steps to stay ahead on job applications.
1. Create a Career Plan
With every task, it is imperative that you begin with a clear mind. In an attempt to secure a job quickly, sending out multiple job applications day after day can quickly become the norm. This does you little favours as it could fuel frustrations over the direction in which you are headed after weeks of applying and waiting for responses.
One way would be to list out your career goals. Visualising a career narrative for the next 5 years could help shed some light on the steps you need to take now to actualise future goals. It also gives you a roadmap on which you can pin down career milestones to strive towards – which helps improve the drive to achieve. That said, it is equally important that you also factor in your priorities with family and hobbies as well to strike a balance early.
2. Track Your Applications
It is easy to underestimate the amount of time that goes into actively applying for jobs. To avoid mismanagement, carve out an appropriate amount of time you are able to spare each day solely devoted to your job hunt. Consequently, application deadlines, interview calls, and companies you have already applied to is necessary to keep track of. Getting a call and not remembering what you applied for could sabotage your phone interview.
Identifying suitable job roles and tracking your applications for them are equally important. Using a simple Excel spreadsheet linked to your calendar is good enough to manage the tracking process. On top of never worrying about lost updates, you can sync all of your different resumes, necessary documents, and cover letters for convenient access at any point.
Some Pointers to Take Note of:
- Note the contact information, address and website
- Job Title
- Date you applied and the potential start date of the job
- References used for application
- Link of job advertisement
- Job Status updates
- Follow up emails, application status, interview time and date
3. Optimising Your Resume & Cover Letter
A standard resume is unlikely to impress the recruiter and help you stand out from hundreds of other applications. Having a standard resume to begin with is perfectly fine – in fact, it helps you save time on recreating personalised resumes for different job roles you are applying to. Though tailoring every resume can be an arduous process, doing so demonstrates effort that has gone into the application and desire to secure the job. This could help one’s application standout.
Tweak these 3 Points in the Resume
- Match keywords
- Identify and weave the keywords used in the advertisement into your skills section, work history and objective statement for a closer fit with the candidate requirements
- Adapt your personal objective or summary
- Your personal summary is the best place to include a short explanation of why you would be a good fit for the job, effectively indicating your desire to work in that company specifically, not just the industry as a whole.
- Review the work experiences listed
- As it is often touted that you only have a couple of seconds to make a lasting good impression, keeping your resume short to a page at minimum is your best bet in keeping the recruiter’s attention. Likewise, removing work positions that have zero correlation or impact on the job you are applying for can help you to maintain a consistent career narrative – even if you were exploring different industries for a bit! That said, if removing a job experience leaves you with a big gap in your employment history, it might be best to just leave it in and explain your reasons for switching jobs.
- Match keywords
4. Following Up on Your Applications
Following up after the interview is an opportunity for you to expand your professional network while investigating on the status of your application. Checking on the next steps before you leave the interview gives you good leverage for a formal follow up through email. With a better sense of the company’s hiring process, you can then promptly send a follow-up email with appropriate time in between.
Aside from building network, you get to reaffirm your strengths and interest in the job. If you have been tracking the dates of your interviews, deciding when to send a follow-up email becomes much easier. Make sure to get the email contact of your interviewer but if not possible, you can use social media to find out easily. Checking the team pages on the company’s career pages could have the contact information listed as well. Before sending out the follow-up emails, it is best to proofread it thoroughly and ensure that it is kept concise.
When you begin your job hunt process, you will soon come to realise that finding a full-time job is a full-time job in itself. Without proper time allocated for resume building, identifying suitable job roles and tailoring each application, it is difficult to expect results. Hiring is a two-way street, so factoring in time that potential employers need in vetting applications and scheduling interviews can help you plan ahead better. Sending out dozens of applications day after day can get frustrating so it is crucial that you keep your drive up by consistently taking a break in between and reviewing your approach.