A recent poll shows that 81 percent of job candidates said stated that they apply only to positions for which that they are qualified. But a collection of social media comments shows that people are using a variety of job search strategies, including applying to several jobs they may or may not be qualified for.
Using this information, we’ve put together a list of the strategies some job seekers are using. Hopefully, these approaches will help you in your search.
What is your job search strategy?
- Applying selectively to the best matches
- Applying to as many as possible regardless of qualifications
Working Around the ATS
What I personally do is apply to a job where I’m 75 to 80 percent qualified for the key requirements, knowing that I can quickly attain the other 20 percent. Those who randomly apply for positions are overwhelming HR departments, making it difficult for those of us who are more selective.
These flooded HR departments are now hiring companies to screen the resumes and using poorly built Applicant Tracking Systems. The problem now is that these outsource companies don’t have a clue about what constitutes transferable skills versus an exact match because they don’t have direct contact with the hiring manager, and the ATS’s can’t distinguish different terms for the same keyword.
Hopefully this post will bring attention to this and the people who just don’t get it. Applying to jobs that they’re just not qualified for is a waste of time and makes it difficult for hiring managers and HR departments to fill these open positions.
I read the ad over several times and then only apply to a job if I meet 80 percent to 90 percent of the requirements. As for transferable skills, I am still trying to sort out where my background in education can transfer in a particular field. It seems that HR departments are being overly reliant on their ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to screen resumes. Because so many HR reps are being overrun with resumes and applications, it seems that companies should expand their HR departments to help out these reps.
New Strategy Brings Results
I look for jobs that are relevant to me and tailor my resume and cover letter to them. If a listing is not directly relevant, I modify my cover letter to say that although this role would be a new experience for me, my existing experience in other fields would prove valuable to their company. I started by just calling recruiters and sending my resume to them. This resulted in only two interview calls in a month. I then adapted my strategy:
- I had my resume done by a professional and searched online for sites and recruitment agencies that specialized in my area
- Worked on improving my LinkedIn profile and added it to my email signature
- Refresh the job boards with my resume on a regular basis
- Began attending business networking events and conferences
- Took advice, including what to say or not to say on a resume, from people I met at these events who knew of recruiters that were relevant to my search
Since making these changes, I now get at least one possible interview call every couple of days. This is a marked improvement and I’m hoping to get a job offer soon. Best of luck to all.
Use a Portion of Skills
I don’t waste time applying for jobs I’m not qualified for. The roles I focus on are the ones for which I’m a strong match and the most qualified. If there’s a job where I don’t have a lot of experience but my skills are transferable, I’ll apply. Here’s an example: I applied recently for a job writing technical proposals, even though my experience is at leading technology projects as the Project Manager, where I would only write proposals once in a while.
Tough Market, Expanded Search
Having been unemployed for a while, I am finding the market difficult and very selective. Even when I have the right skills and experience for a job, it seems that I’m always quickly told, ‘We have checked your resume and are sorry to say that you were unsuccessful at this time, etc…’ It’s become very disheartening. Though I live in London, UK, I’m searching the globe for my next job. I truly wish everyone the best in their next position.
Increase Your Odds
Think of your search as a full time job, and picture yourself as the person giving the interviews. Consider it like this: If you submit 300 resumes, you’ll get about 45 negative responses, 10 interviews, and a couple of suitable offers. Check out S.C.O.R.E.
This may depend largely on whether or not you are receiving unemployment benefits. The goal of applying to at least three openings per week can be difficult for some. For example, I have a chemical engineering background and found few, if any, positions in the area over the past several years. Like many, I had to apply for positions for which I was actually over-qualified. Now that my benefits have expired, I am being more selective and focusing on my project management experience. The only jobs I am applying to are those that truly interest me.
Employers are being overwhelmed with resumes from everyone, qualified or not. I only apply to jobs I’m qualified for
I try to be selective, but sometimes other jobs catch my eye. Even so, to avoid wasting my time and the employer’s, I always make sure that I am at least somewhat qualified.
I apply to everything. Every morning I spend three hours searching company websites as well as job posting sites.
With today’s job market, I apply for all of them. You never know where a company can use you.
I spend most of my time applying to the best matches, but I also apply to a few interesting positions I might not be qualified for. I don’t spend as much time on these, though.