Career DevelopmentThe Right Hire

Job Hunting Hacks or Just Pure Facts

Aditi Chaurasia

Co-founder & COO, Supersourcing

Job hunting in an uncertain market can often feel like an arduous task.

A typical job-hunting process involves hours tailoring your resume (keeping in mind that the keywords have to please the ATS demon), drafting a captivating cover letter that doesn’t look like a resume summary, and preparing for interviews.

Candidates endure weeks of anticipation, with hopes rising with every email notification or LinkedIn message, only to find themselves trapped in the mud of nothingness and maddening silence. Sounds familiar?

On the side, employers still follow that same age-old screening and interview processes, asking questions like “Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?”, “What are your strengths and failures?” and more, that doesn’t really give a clear picture of a candidate.

The checklist involves good references, resumes that look good, and experiences at par. All good. Lets hire!

And after a month, the candidate doesn’t seem good, missing a deadline, or complaining about workload. You feel as if hiring him or her was a mistake. Boom, bad hire!

After working in the recruitment industry for over a decade now and interviewing countless candidates, I have observed, experimented, and learned the answer to the question most candidates have, “How do you land your dream job?”

If you are an employer, you can gain insights into what today’s candidates are looking for and how you should change your approach to hire creative and effective people in your team.

Things Job Seekers Should Avoid

Like many other freshers hunting for a job in the digital age, Wes Gibbins felt like he was moving nowhere when applying online for the 100th time, filling in the same information he already added to his resume. 

The most common response was “nothing”. Where did he go wrong? 

Well, the one common reason can be that his resume is not getting passed through the robots. However, recruiters receive thousands of applications for each job role and they have to find that one perfect candidate. For example, we got 1,597 applications for a project manager role we posted on LinkedIn.

Job posting of Project manager by Supersourcing

Generic Resumes That Lack Keywords

Crafting a specific and personalized resume for each job is a daunting task, especially for freshers when they apply for 100s of jobs at one time. But it is the first and foremost important step to selection. Highlight relevant skills, and use keywords that match your job role.

The Incomplete Application

Rushing through online applications might lead to incomplete information. Most of the applicants either skip the questions or write answers such as “I don’t have an answer for this”. This will immediately lead to rejection of your application. Take your time to fill out all necessary fields, providing comprehensive details about your education, experience, and skills.

No Familiarity with the Company’s Work

In the new scenario, companies always look for candidates who are very much familiar with their industry and about themselves. Your answers in the job application will clearly show whether you have done enough research about that company or not. While this won’t be the major factor for rejection, it will affect your chances of selection.

Underestimating the Cover Letter

Some applicants skip the cover letter, assuming it’s not crucial. A well-crafted cover letter can set you apart by demonstrating your enthusiasm for the role and how your skills align with the company’s needs.

Sharing Irrelevant Project Samples

Project Samples need to be aligned with the job role you are applying for. For example, when applying for a writing job in an HRTech company, sharing blog samples on martech doesn’t tell about your domain expertise.

Writing Your Job Application Using AI

Those questions in your job application are a way for employers to understand you and your work. Writing your application using AI can be seen as you are not serious about this role.. While you can use AI to help you structure your answer better, it should be your thoughts only. You can review your content through AI content checker tools like Copyleaks before submitting your application.

Not Following the Application Guidelines

Most questions in an application form have a word limit or they ask to upload some document in a specific format. Candidates often misread it or ignore it. For example, writing a 200-word answer to describe their last experience while it was mentioned to keep it within 60 words won’t help your application.

Resumes are not just about qualifications, it’s a way to make an impact before even meeting. Your tailored resume should demonstrate that you’re ready to bring your A-game to the table.

Why Is It Important to Change Your Resume For Each Job?

You found the perfect role in a company you wanted to work with. Dopamine released in your brain and you hurriedly applied for the role by uploading the resume you sent to 50 other companies. 

Your chances of rejection just spiked. 

Resumes are the common thing when you apply to any job during your career. It is important to modify your resume for each job you apply to because each company has specific requirements for the same role based on their culture, business, ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), and many other things. 

A customized resume tailored to the job description and company can significantly increase your chances of getting shortlisted by hiring managers. 

Why Creating a tailored resume matters more than you think?

If You Are Applying For Jobs, Highlight Your Abilities, Not Degrees

Businesses are changing the focus from just degrees to what you can actually do. Does that mean degrees don’t matter? Not exactly.

Imagine this: Today, a big chunk (roughly 90%) of people are working in jobs that don’t exactly match their college degrees. 

Jason Shen’s Ted Talk talked about hiring based on skills, saying that experience and degrees can sometimes make things unfair when hiring. 

And guess what? More and more companies are now looking at skills. IBM, a huge tech company, recently announced that degrees aren’t a must when you apply at IBM.

So, here’s the deal for you as a job seeker: it’s time to show off what you can do. 

Your skills, like being great at solving problems or being an awesome communicator, are your secret weapons. They matter more and more to companies that want people who can adapt and bring new ideas, especially in the ChatGPT world.

Though that doesn’t mean, degrees don’t have any value. But in this changing world, your skills can be the thing that makes you stand out and get that dream job.

Talk to the People, and Not to the Resume Websites

Ramit Sethi, a self-proclaimed personal finance advisor who also offers online courses on how to find your dream job, suggests job seekers to avoid the “apply online” black hole altogether. The best way to find a job is to get to know the company and someone inside first.

With 100s of job search platforms, technology has now become a scapegoat for futile job searches. 

Applying online through resume websites or clicking on the LinkedIn “Easy Apply” button are age-old processes that won’t get you anywhere. Instead make a list of companies you want to work with or better make a list of people in your field you want to work for (as they say, “Choose People, Not Companies”) and approach them directly with a personalized message or email.

How to Narrow Your Job Search?

Cover Letters ≠ Summary of Your Resumes

56% of employers prefer candidates who add a cover letter to their application. Cover letters act as a catalyst and show the determination and personality of the candidate. However, most candidates copy-paste the templates or just write the summary of their resume making it an inhibitor in your job search. Let’s understand what a good cover letter entails using this brilliant example.

A sample cover letter

The reason I liked this cover letter is because it is short, and to the point. Michelle has done good research about the company and clearly mentioned why she is perfect for the role.

She plays up her prior music industry experience to build a connection with Epic Music Group. If you have specific industry experience for the role you are applying for, be sure to highlight that. It can give you brownie points.

Her research was so impeccable that she knows what software programs they use, and happens to be proficient in it to help convey value to the concerned person (here hiring manager). This shows the importance of research. 

Make sure you scan every public information available about the company to understand its business and culture before sending a cover letter. Keep it crisp, don’t overwhelm the other person or you’ll completely miss the mark.

Interviews Are Not Interrogations – It’s an Opportunity to Tell Your Story

You are selected for the interview. The hiring manager must have liked you (based on your resume and application). Now they want to know you more. They want to check your technical skills, your personality, your way of working, and many other things.

This interview will decide whether you are technically and culturally fit for the job or not. 

Instead of taking it as an interrogation and answering questions on what the internet has told you. Sit back and relax, and analyze your resume and your past work experience. 

Craft a story that reflects your unique personality and not of some Ben Lorenz on the internet.

Honestly, this is the only advice I have for you to crack interviews. There is an amazing Ted Talk by Dino Martinez, who emphasizes storytelling for interviews. 

Another brilliant talk by Ashley Rizzotto on what mistakes to avoid during interviews –Mastering the Art of the Interview | Ashley Rizzotto | TEDxNSU

Combine the Tech, Data, and Human Touch to Find Your Next Job

The competition is fierce in the job market as well as the talent market. On one hand, quality talent is scarce, on the other people are hunting for jobs like an eagle.

In the next 5 years, businesses will not care about degrees, certifications, and experience, but whether you have relevant skills or you can get the job done more efficiently.

In this uncertain market, nobody can tell you the ideal hiring practices or share the job hunting hacks. At some point, all these hacks or ideal pratices are like a roll of the dice. 

The only job search hack is to keep upskilling as per the market requirements and ditch the traditional process of job seeking. Adapt new ways, build connections, and stay current with what’s new happening in your field.

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