Before Sending Another Resume: Ask Yourself These 4 Questions

waitA job seeker reports applying for over 1,000 jobs in the past 12 months. The results:

Zero job offers; zero job interviews.

Like many job seekers, this job seeker viewed the millions of job postings on the Internet as the path to employment. The problem:

Too many applications done quickly, carelessly and without conviction.

In this very competitive job market, job seekers need to bring their “A Game” to every job opportunity they choose to pursue. And the simple fact is that if you’re in spray-and-pray mode – if you applying for every job you see, qualified or not – you are bringing your “C Game” to each opportunity; maybe even a “D” or “F”.

And no one hires an “F” (or a “D” or “C”).

Disconnect from that apply-apply-apply instinct. A job search is not a numbers game. Conserve your “A Game” energy and efforts for jobs that are a good fit for you. Carefully read the job description, and then, ask yourself these 4 questions:

1. Do I Want This Job?

Yes, a paycheck is VERY important! But, earning that paycheck will mean doing that job. So before you chase and, perhaps, land the wrong job, read the “duties” and “responsibilities” section of the job description very carefully.

Maybe you’ve done this work before, earlier in your career, and, sure, you could do it, but you don’t really want to. Or, maybe the duties and the job sound very interesting to you, and you are excited by the idea of having that job.

The benefit: When you apply for a job you really want, your enthusiasm will show in the quality of your application and interview.

1. Do I Qualify for This Job?

Examine the “requirements” or “qualifications” section. Even if there is no doubt you could do the job described, applying will be a waste of your time if you don’t meet most of the requirements – like meeting 3 out of 4 or 5 of the requirements, or 7 out of 9 or 10.

In this competitive job market, employers have their choice highly-qualified applicants. So, applying for a job without meeting most of the requirements/qualifications makes it very doubtful that you will be considered for the job.

The benefit: When you apply carefully for a job that is a good fit for you, you have a better chance of making it through the human or automated screening (or both) to be invited in for an interview.

3. Do I Want to Work for This Employer?

Hopefully, this employer is already on your list of target employers. If not, do some checking to be sure that this is a good place to work. Put Google to work for you, and check for reviews by employees.

Maybe this employer has a terrible reputation as a place to work or been involved in a bad situation – legal, financial, quality, etc. Or maybe it’s great and everyone who works there loves it. You must know!

The benefit: You will be better prepared to do an excellent job of applying, and your knowledge will demonstrate your interest in the employer during the job interview. Your research could also show you that while the job sounds great and you qualify for it, working for this employer would be a nightmare best avoided.

4. Do I Know Anyone Who Already Works There?

If you have answered the top 3 questions with affirmatives, you can immediately start your application. But you will greatly increase the probability of a job interview if you can also answer this question with a “Yes”!

Check your network online (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) and off-line (friends, family, colleagues, etc.) to see if you have a contact already working for the employer who could deliver your resume into the formal “employee referral program” process or say a good word to HR.

The benefit: Employers consider an referral from an existing employee “gold” – that applicant is often fast-tracked through the hiring process. When a contact on the inside (an existing employee) submits your resume and vouches for you, you have a much, much better chance of being considered.

Yes, sometimes the planets align, timing is inexplicably perfect, and a random application – rarely – does turn into a great job. But, such exceptional situations are extremely rare, making the apply-apply-apply approach a very poor job search strategy.

Bring your “A” game. Focus on this opportunity. And win the interview!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at WorkCoachCafe.




Susan P Joyce AuthorAbout the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 2011, NETability purchased; Susan has been editor and publisher since. Susan also edits and publishes Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on .



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