You’ve been on the job hunt for several months and have submitted dozens of resumes. You feel you have the skills and qualifications employers seek, but so far the phone isn’t ringing. Despite your efforts, employers aren’t calling you in for an interview.
What can you do to remedy the situation? Consider the following six tips for increasing your chances of securing an IT interview:
1) Don’t limit yourself.
To locate a position in today’s employment market, you may need to expand your options. For example, consider the companies you’re targeting and the industries they’re in. Some sectors of the economy — real estate, banking and construction, to name a few — have contracted significantly because of the recession. However, others continue to do well. Healthcare, for instance, is poised for long-term growth. If you’re not looking for work in the healthier corners of the economy, you’re looking in the wrong place. The simple truth is that you’re more likely to be called for an interview if you approach companies that are doing more hiring.
2) Show your value.
Today, more than ever, hiring managers seek professionals who can make bottom-line contributions to the company, either through cost-saving measures or improvements in efficiencies. How have you assisted previous employers in this way, and are your contributions evident on your resume?
As you fine-tune your document, weed out unnecessary information so the value of your contributions stands out. For example, if you seek a help desk role, there’s no need to outline basic duties of past support positions you’ve held; instead, detail how you added value. Perhaps you reduced wait times or increased the number of callers being helped each hour.
3) Customize your resume.
Many people think that finding a job is strictly a numbers game. While it’s true that you increase your chances of success by reaching out to more employers, you can’t simply blast your resume to the world and hope to receive much response. Rather than sending the same version of your resume to every company, regardless of whether an open position is a suitable fit, customize the document to each opportunity. This doesn’t mean you need to rewrite it from scratch – simply highlight different skills or achievements based on what is most relevant to a specific job and employer. For example, if you’re applying for a .NET position, describe situations in which you’ve utilized this platform and make this information more prominent on your document.
4) Keep it clean.
The little things matter when it comes to your resume. According to executives surveyed by our company, nearly half of respondents said even one typo is enough to eliminate a job candidate from consideration for an open position. So, in addition to spell-checking your document, have a trusted colleague review it, too. And, remember, you’re not texting or e-mailing a friend, so keep your resume professional, erring on the side of formality when in doubt.
5) Use a cover letter.
Some job applicants see the cover letter as a relic from the past, and do away with this document when submitting an application. Don’t follow their lead. Hiring managers still like receiving them: In fact, 86 percent of executives we surveyed said cover letters are valuable when evaluating job candidates. The cover letter offers a sneak peak at your resume and allows you to go into greater detail about your most noteworthy accomplishments or address a prospective employer’s potential concerns, such as an extended gap in your work history.
6) Stay in touch.
Don’t forget about your application once you make initial contact with a prospective employer. If you haven’t heard back about your inquiry, follow up with the hiring manager. In a survey by our company, 82 percent of executives polled said job seekers should contact hiring managers within two weeks of submitting application materials. With a brief e-mail or phone call, you can reinforce your interest in the opportunity and demonstrate your initiative.
If you’re not getting the interview calls you anticipated during a job search, carefully assess your actions to make sure you’re making the right moves. A subtle shift in strategy might just improve your prospects.
Dave Willmer is executive director of Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis. Robert Half Technology has more than 100 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.rht.com.
ALSO SEE: How to Not Get an IT Job: 10 Tips