You’ve spent hours writing your resume, searching job sites, and applying to different roles—only to receive rejection after rejection. And that’s if you even hear back about your application at all. After a while, this all gets pretty exhausting, and you start to wonder what you’re doing wrong. Unfortunately, with just seven seconds to impress a potential employer, and competition for jobs increasing all the time, lots of applications are filtered out very early on in the application process.
So, if you don’t want your resume ending up in the rejection pile, you need to do everything you can to grab employers’ attention early on. To help you accomplish this, here are five things you can do immediately.
1. Reassess the jobs you’re applying for
First and foremost, you need to reassess the roles you’re applying for. If you’re applying for many very similar roles and having no luck, there could be a bigger underlying reason. For example, perhaps you’re missing some of the key skills required to secure the role. Whatever the case might be, by revisiting the roles you’ve applied for and then looking at roles that might be better suited to your current standing, you could increase your chances of securing interviews—and moving along in the hiring process.
2. Revamp your resume
Although you might have been happy with your resume when you first wrote it, if you’re not getting the results you want, it might be time to make a few tweaks. Start off by making sure you’re covering your key qualifications, skills, and achievements—and make sure you’re using persuasive and engaging language. Also, remember to tailor every resume you submit to the specific company and position. So, before hitting send on any application, carefully match and highlight the skills and experience set out in the job description.
3. Add to your skill set
If it’s your lack of experience or skills slowing you down, the good news is there’s something you can do. By taking online courses, attending events, and accepting work experience or volunteering positions, you can keep evolving and growing your skill set. This means that, over time, you can add these new skills and experiences to your resume. Doing this also shows employers that you’re willing to keep learning—something that’s very desirable in an employee and could boost your chances of getting the job.
4. Spruce up your online presence
Today, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. Plus, a further 47 percent wouldn’t invite a candidate in for an interview if they couldn’t find them online. So, while your application might be great and recruiters might be interested, your online presence could quickly cost you the interview.
If, after a quick Google or LinkedIn search, you’re nowhere to be found, it could hurt your chances of moving further through the application process. Not only this, but if you’ve posted inappropriate content, or perhaps you’ve shared less than flattering pictures of yourself (perhaps out partying!), this could also cost you the interview.
So, if you’re being ignored by employers, consider making your profiles private, deleting any content that could harm your reputation. Also, consider sharing and engaging with content relevant to your industry on suitable platforms. This can help recruiters to see you in a better light and build a better understanding of who you are.
5. Shouting about your achievements
Finally, from your resume to your cover letter and even your online profiles, you need to make sure you’re shouting about your achievements. If your application doesn’t already show how great you are, then you need to make some changes.
One of the best ways to showcase your skills is to quantify your achievements where possible and give details of any awards or accolades you’ve received. For example, you could highlight how you placed at the top of your class or how many people you helped to train in your in one of your roles. This helps employers to better understand your strengths—and how you could be a valuable asset to their business.
Andrew Fennell is the founder and director of Job Description Library and StandOut CV, two leading UK careers advice websites. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Independent.