For many people, the answer to "Is your job search a waste of time?" might be yes. We have all seen the articles and signs about how the unemployed need not apply. There are also ads that have the statement "Qualified Applicants Only." In a recent white paper put out by Central Florida Employment Council board member Roger Lear of Orlando Jobs, 170 companies surveyed said they receive applications from job seekers who are unqualified for the jobs to which they are applying. You can read the white paper here.
Sending resumes to positions you are not qualified for has worse odds than winning the lottery. It is also a waste of valuable time needed to find a job you are qualified for. These days, training budgets are still tight and many companies are looking for candidates who are experienced so they are ready to be integrated into the job quickly with minimal ramp up time.
Companies are often requiring pre-screening questionnaires as part of their application process. This series of questions is designed, in some cases, to prevent applicants from going through the entire application process only to have their application discarded.
For the applicant who is having a difficult time finding a job, there are several things they can do to increase the likelihood of being seen:
1. Only apply for jobs you are qualified for. This can include jobs where your skills are transferable. It is important for the hiring manager to be able to see the correlation between the job they are hiring for and your skills and experience.
2. Use key words and key phrases from the job description. Use the job description as a tool to finesse your resume. Highlight all of the skills an qualifications in the job description that match up with your skills and experience and then make sure they are in your resume.
3. Don't upload PDF forms. In many cases, they are too "flat" for the resume reader and may not make it through the system. It is okay to email a PDF form, but there may still be some companies that do not have PDF readers.
4. Make it clear what you are applying for. Often times recruiters see resumes that have a varied background. It can be difficult to tell what job the applicant is looking for. Put the job title in the resume and/or cover letter.
5. Pass the Big 3 test: Grammar/spell check, don't lie and use the right number of pages-to-white-space. One-page resumes are great for entry level. Two pages for mid-career. Don't cram two pages onto one with micro-font.
After surveying many employers ourselves, and testing out the online job systems to see what resumes made it through, Christian HELP started developing classes to help job seekers increase the likelihood of getting an interview. Through three different programs -- Weekly Job skills classes, Boot Camp, and the Central Florida Jobs Initiatives -- Christian HELP is helping to move the needle forward for struggling job seekers. Balancing the classes out with one-on-one coaching and counseling, as well as wrap-around services, including food support and job fairs, Christian HELP saw nearly 6000 job seekers get jobs last year.
According to former President Ronald Reagan, "The best social program is a productive job for anyone who's willing to work." It is important for job programs to help to solve the disconnect between needing a job and finding a job. Until all job seekers have jobs, Christian HELP will be devoted to helping job seekers find jobs that will lead to self-sustainability. You can support this effort at http://www.crowdrise.com/cfec-jr.
Sandi Vidal is the Executive Director of Christian HELP and the Central Florida Employment Council.