Are you frustrated because your phone hasn’t been ringing lately? This story might help you look at responding to job ads a little differently……
Most job hunters have minimal success with getting interviews fromonline help-wanted ads. You probably heard of people who answered dozens of ads each week and NEVER received a call from a company. Why is it so difficult to score an interview? Mainly because on average, only 20% of all job openings will be advertised to the general public; and on top of that, nearly everyone uses the Internet as their main resource for job leads. So, how can you get noticed when you answer one of these ads? You’re in luck because this article is based on a case study which investigated that very question!
Recently, a Chicago area marketing firm that was seeking a new Human Resource Generalist placed an ad on one of the regional HR trade association websites. The ad, which appeared online ection for one week, called for applicants who had the following qualifications:
- Two years of Human Resources experience.
- A B.A. degree in Business or Management.
- An ability to manage a staff of three people.
- Computer skills in MS Office.
- Knowledge of benefits administration, labor relations, recruiting, and Workers’ Compensation laws.
It seems pretty straightforward . . . “IF YOU HAVE WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR, SEND YOUR RESUME” . . . right?? Well, in this case study, 151 resumes were sent to the company, but a whopping 85% were automatically disqualified because the applicants had few (if any) of the qualifications the ad requested. To look at it another way, only 10 of the 151 resumes met the minimum qualifications the supervisor was looking for!
Just the simple act of reading the job ad, and responding ONLY if you fit 99% of the criteria the company is looking for, can significantly increase your chances of getting noticed! This sounds like common sense, right? Well, tell that to the 141 rejected applicants who were Dance Instructors, Boiler Room Operators, Gaming Hosts, Pastors, Addictions Counselors, Food Service Managers, Accountants, Dental Hygienists, and Retail Book Sellers!
In addition to not fitting the required qualifications, the other rejects were trashed for the following reasons:
- No cover letter
- Extremely overqualified (i.e., Ph.D., M.D., etc.)
- Extremely underqualified (i.e., high school diploma)
- Person lives out of state
- Poor writing skills
- Submitted materials that weren’t requested (i.e., pictures, writing samples, etc.)
- Resume was handwritten
- Four-page cover letter
- Bugs Bunny stamps were all over the snail-mail envelope
- YOU GET THE PICTURE!!
It’s easy to see why these people were weeded out within 15 seconds of opening their envelopes, but what about the 10 resumes that made the cut? What did they do correctly? Here’s the SECRET FORMULA:
- They checked to make sure they at least met the minimum qualifications.
- They explicitly conveyed the fact that they closely match the job requirements.
- They networked online with folks inside the company before, during and after theapplication process.
The moral of this story is extremely important for those of you who would like to save time, money, and Bugs Bunny stamps! Here it is: JOBS THAT APPEAR ONLINE ARE SEEKING FOLKS WITH SPECIFIC QUALIFICATIONS THAT ARE NOT NEGOTIABLE!
In other words, if you’re a Boiler Room operator and you want to be a Human Resource Manager when you grow up, take courses or get a degree, volunteer, get work-study experience, find a part-time job in the field . . . build your resume! Then, network with all of the contacts you’ve made from volunteering and joining associations. After that,the odds are you won’t even need an online job board for job leads—just like the successful 80% of job seekers!