Why Can’t I Get a Job Interview?

You can't get a job interview because a resume will not get the hiring manager's attention in 6 seconds. No matter how nicely formatted.

Start by putting yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. Their job is not to do hiring. Their job is to do whatever they do in the company – run a sales department, marketing initiatives, keep the books, develop software, etc.

But sometimes, they’ve gotta hire. That means writing up a job description, trying to imagine what criteria they want in a new hire, scanning tons and tons of resumes that come in, and deciding who to interview. It’s exhausting, and most just wish it was done.

If you’ve ever shopped for a house, apartment, car, or other really big item, you might get a sense how they feel.

They’ll get an average of 250 resumes per job posting. And they scan each for an average of 6 seconds before deciding whether to look deeper or pass on the candidate.

6 seconds.

If you want to get interviewed, start there.

What can you send someone that will get their attention in 6 seconds? What can you send that will make them say, “Ooh, I want to know more about this person”?

Can’t get a job interview? It’s because of the resume.

You can’t get a job interview because a resume will not get the hiring manager’s attention in 6 seconds. No matter how nicely formatted. Neither is a formal cover letter. Those are a dime a dozen. And you know how they all start? “Me, me me!” People start talking about themselves, making the company feel like a generic widget. But companies are run by people, and people want to know you care about them. You don’t get a date by saying, “Here’s why you should be interested in me”, but by saying, “Here’s why I’m interested in you.”

That hiring manager scans hundreds of apps that all blend together. “I have over five years experience creating excellent environments for both clients and team members” blab blah blah. Yawn.

Be different

Imagine being that hiring manager and opening your inbox one morning. You see an email that says, “I want to work for you”. You click it. It contains a very short message,

Hey Joe! I love what Acme is doing in the anvil building industry. I’ve been a huge fan ever since I was a kid watching cartoons and am thrilled by your new initiative to bring Acme to new industries. Here’s a little something I made for you: LINK”

Intriguing.

They talked about you, not them, and they clearly actually know a bit about the company. They made you something! But what is it? Would you click?

Hiring managers do. Almost every single time.

Imagine clicking and seeing a beautiful pitch with a short video of the candidate introducing themselves and telling you why they think they’d fit the role. The pitch included a cool project they made just for your company, and a few examples of other projects they’ve done. It ends with a request: “I’d love 15 minutes of your time to learn more about the role and how I can help Acme”.

Damn.

You’d respond. How do I know? Because 80% of hiring managers do. And 35% will request an interview.

That’s right. For every 3 pitches sent, one interview gets booked. Compared that to traditional resume applications, where an interview comes for every 150 sent.

Related: 3 Big Changes in Hiring (and why they’re good for you)

Recap

To recap: start by putting yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. Send them something other than a resume – something that will catch their attention in 6 seconds. Email it directly, not just via the standard app form. When you send it, make sure it opens talking about them and the company, not about you.

It takes more work at first, but less work in the end. Don’t blend in. Stand out!

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