Why Am I Not Getting A Response From Employers?
By Nimish Thakkar, Resume Writer & Career Coach
I have sent out dozens of resumes -- why am I not getting a response from employers? As resume writers and career coaches, we hear such questions very frequently. While the economy can be a major determining factor, the truth is that job seekers can take affirmative steps to improve response rates.
While many variables can impact the success of a job search campaign, four major factors merit consideration: background, resume, job search strategies, and aggressiveness of the campaign. Let’s review each of these in further detail and see how three job seekers revised their resume and landed a job in biopharma.
Background, focus, and resume revamp
Jim was a top-producing sales professional with a pharmaceutical company. During his stellar sales career, he had produced multi-million dollar sales growth and had won some very prestigious accounts (high net worth individuals). As successful as Jim was, he was very passionate about working as an account manager, but despite his sales accomplishments and relationship management skills, his resume was getting 0% response.
What was going wrong? Apparently, Jim had concocted a perception that sales and account management are interchangeable and he used his sales resume to target every possible account management opportunity under the sun. Hiring managers, on the other end, were seeing the connection and similarity between sales and account management but were more focused on applicants with a core account management background.
Jim’s case is representative of many job seekers who either don’t have the right background or have it buried deep within their resumes. After several coaching and resume writing sessions, Jim was ready for a major career makeover. With the help of his manager, he got involved in managing the accounts he had secured. In addition to this work experience, he also enrolled in training programs that were offered by external vendors. Jim highlighted his account management accomplishments on the resume and after a complete resume revamp, the response rates improved dramatically. He is now an Executive Account Manager at a pharmaceutical company.
If you have the right background, a well-written resume can make a big difference
Jen was an accomplished Marketing Manager at a biopharmaceutical company with over five years experience. She also held a graduate degree in marketing and was considered a promising candidate by most of her superiors. Jen’s background was working in her favor, but employers were not too keen on calling her. Why?
Her resume did not showcase her strongest selling points. In addition to an old school resume writing style, her resume was focused mostly on her job duties and not her accomplishments. There was absolutely nothing on her resume that would WOW potential employers. There was simply not enough meat to position her.
Complete resume makeover. Jen’s resume was rewritten from scratch to showcase her accomplishments and to brand and position her from the perspective of potential employers. Branding statements, accomplishments, powerful career stories, eye-catching summary, and a complete rewrite of her resume transformed her dull resume into a powerful marketing piece that landed her several interviews. Jen now works with a prestigious pharmaceutical company as Associate Director of Global Marketing.
Active as opposed to passive job searching
Amy was applying for a clinical research position. Her resume was compelling and she did have the right background and credentials. Despite having ace credentials, Amy was unemployed for over six months. When her unemployment benefits were close to termination, she hit the panic button but was unable to unravel the mystery cause that was foiling her career aspirations. She was the perfect candidate, no doubt, but why wasn’t she able to generate interviews? Wrong job search strategies.
In current economic conditions, it is very important to use a portfolio of job search strategies -- from job boards and classified ads to social media and networking, it is important to mobilize all the job search tools, just as if you were launching a marketing campaign for a product or service.
Simply waiting for job leads to pour in is not going to work. Intense efforts must be made using a combination of job search strategies. Amy realized this and turned-around her job search efforts. In addition to posting her resume on job boards, she started networking aggressively and also focused on using a combination of several job search strategies, including cold calling employers and recruiters.
In addition to her job search arsenal, Amy also increased the number of applications she was sending out. From applying to just a few jobs every day, she started applying to 20 to 30 active positions on a daily basis (in addition to networking). Within a few months, Amy was hired as a Sr. Medical Director of Clinical Research.
How did she find the position? She met her prospective employer during an Amtrak ride from New York to Connecticut.
Nimish Thakkar is a nationally-recognized resume writer and career coach. During his decade-long career, he has helped thousands of job seekers get back to work through ResumeCorner.com and SaiCareers.com. For a free resume evaluation, write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-539-7771.
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