You’ve been applying for the wrong job. Not every job with the title you want is a fit for you.
You have been searching the wrong places because most people do so, i.e. reading job ads, apply any job you can find, send applications online etc. Where do you think head hunters look to find job openings as new businesses? They research the industry, companies, network with the right people, and go directly to the source- where the job is created. Not all jobs are advertised. They may be filled even before they are advertised. You don’t know them because you respond to job ads while head hunters actively go after job sources.
Do you know what a typical day for recruiters entail? Whether they are in-house or on the agency side, they have hundreds of CVs to screen every day or even for one job opening. According to LinkedIn, recruiters spend 6 seconds to decide whether a CV is a fit for the job. If you don’t have the right CV, you’ll be ruled out in the first 6 seconds of the glance if your CV doesn’t have the right format, content etc. These busy hiring authorities have no time to figure out who you are and what exactly you can offer.
You killed your chance of being shortlisted in seconds. Most job hunters’ CV are lamely written. They read like a boring job description or they are full of vague hyped fluffy words like: detail oriented, team player, entrepreneurial, self-starter etc. Then they are puzzled as to why the recruiter or hiring managers didn’t shortlist them. These fluff words have no power to convince the hiring authority you have actually achieved anything. In addition, everybody over uses them. If the recruiter has lots of time or struggle with candidates, he may go through your CV in detail. But most of the time, they have no such luxury. They simply bin this kind of CV in 6 seconds.
Another secret why your CV is not selected is because it doesn’t have the key words the job requires. Hence the applicant tracking system won’t shortlist yours for a human being to further investigate.
Like the majority of job hunters, you think getting that job is a numbers game. The more application you send, the higher chance you have to get an interview. If you manage to send 200, a 5% return could only secure you 10 interviews. The reality is, if you don’t know what is right for you, blindly applying for any job is not responsible for yourself and you are wasting your time on activities generating the least return. Do you think employers have so much time that they list a job online to receive hundreds and even thousands of irrelevant CVs to screen?
You are good at what you do but apart from your small circle of friends and a few colleagues, you are unknown to the good recruiters in your industry. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, from where 90% of recruiters search for candidates, you are out of the game.
Maybe you have already got a LinkedIn profile. However, it’s not properly written:
Did you know you are trying to beat the machine on these job sites? All job sites including LinkedIn has some sort of automation system. It will automatically match the key words in the ad with your CV. If your CV misses these key words they are “trained” to catch, the system won’t “shortlist” you. Your CV is killed even before seen by a human eye. Only 3% of job applicants to an ad get a phone call which is not necessarily a formal interview.
If you are an experienced professional, you should get some head hunter calls. If you are good at what you do, you should receive many head hunter calls, especially if your industry and function are hot! How many head hunter do calls you receive per week? In a month? Maybe rarely. That’s the reality. Good candidates- even star performers don’t necessarily get head hunter calls. Why? Many head hunters are not qualified, let alone HR personnel who are not trained to proactively source especially passive candidates. A good head hunter is a DIG specialist. DIG means Discipline, Industry and Geography. They should know the majority of people in their niche by constantly mapping out the market, speaking to the market, build their industry network and knowledge. However, mapping and cold calling are hard work. Nobody likes that unless they have to or they are really passionate about it. But that’s the fundamentals for a good head hunter. Not many head hunters are doing their basics. Data mining and cold calling are hard work. Many people choose the easy way. They become databank jockeys, i.e. they go through existing database like LinkedIn, or even worse, go through CVs (mostly from active job seekers) in job sites’ database. They search usually company, job title, and other key words and then they focus on what the system shortlisted for them. As such, they are bound to miss the 70% of passive candidates and candidates that don’t have a proper LinkedIn Profile, and you are one of the victims.
You are contacted or have even been approached by recruiters. But your first self-introduction email /call puts them off. Here’s an example. I received a message from someone I connected with on LinkedIn. He is a senior person (by job title) in real estate investment. He wrote “You have a great profile. I’m looking for a new opportunity. I’m looking to work for XYZ (the biggest names) in real estate investment. I work well with people, I am detail oriented, have a technical background, and highly entrepreneurial… If you feel you can help me, I’d really enjoy speaking with you. Please contact me and forward my resume.”
I certainly had no idea how to help this person after reading his message. To make it even worse, I am suspicious he is not placeable at all. Firstly, the LinkedIn mail is like a cookie cutter, copy paste. What do you know about me by saying “my profile looks great”? If you had really read my profile, you’ll know I’m not in recruitment anymore and I don’t’ place people any more. Secondly, his intro of himself is awful. It is particularly awful for someone who is already a senior executive and wants to work for the top players in the industry. All the bluff words show me nothing about whether he is an achiever to determine if my client (if I’m still a head hunter) will take a second look at it. Last but not the least, you never ask a head hunter to forward your CV, let alone they don’t know you at all nor can figure out what you can do. Maybe this is a good candidate who just doesn’t know how to present himself. Well, life doesn’t usually give us a 2nd chance. Don’t ruin your first chance. A Head hunter approaches you because they think you may be a placeable candidate. Please help them to help you. By helping them I mean do your best to help them to figure out who you are, what you can do, what value you bring to a potential employer- not only talk about what you want first.
The good head-hunters always try to understand your background, discover your value proposition and what’s your passion and desire first. They will never “sell” you an opportunity in your first call nor should he ask you for your CV even before he/she knows you. The good head hunters can act as your consultant not only matching you with the right opportunity but also giving you good advice and acting like your career strategist along the way. There are plenty of recruiters out there or more like telesales. They treat you like a product. They quickly jump in to ask you for your CV. Or they sell you a job without knowing whether it is a fit for what you want. If you are responsible for your own career, never work with these kinds of sales guy. If you are too eager to get a job and easily give away your CV, you may end up endangering your current job as well as not getting a new job. Why? Not every recruiter is responsible. There are recruiters sending out candidates CV hoping to get a placement without getting your consent. I’ve seen and heard CVs of the staff in a company was sent to his/her own boss or his/her peers! Do use due diligence on the head hunters before you work with them.