4 Things You Might Overlook When Applying for Jobs
It’s no secret that applying for jobs takes work. A lot of work. Scanning job boards, saving listings and writing cover letters can even start to feel like its own job.
This is why it can feel all the more frustrating when you get rejection emails, don’t hear anything at all or can’t make it past the first interview. While there is something to be said about playing the numbers game, meaning that the more places you apply to, the more chance you have at securing a job, quantity doesn’t always equal quality.
So, instead of sending your resume to everyone, start to really hone in on the type of job and company you want to work with. Once you know what you want, look for clues in the job listings that tell you exactly what their ideal candidate is.
Often times, you can fall into a trap of seeing a particular title, skimming a listing, and firing off an application. But you didn’t scroll all the way to the bottom to read that they’re looking for someone with a particular skill set that you don’t have, want a very specific experience or are looking for a certain degree level. If they’re using an ATS to screen candidates, then you’re just wasting your time by hitting “apply”.
Here are a few things to look out for when applying for jobs that may be automatically excluding you:
Degree Type or Major
If a company is seeking something with a higher education degree, the job listing will clearly state it. But look out for language like “preferred”. That’s a signal that they’re open to other majors or a lower degree of education.
If you’re in a technical industry, hard skills will be even more important. Pay attention to the specific software programs, coding languages, certifications, etc. that the company is seeking in their ideal candidate. If you can only code in one specific language and it’s not the one they use, then you will likely not receive a callback.
Years of Experience
This is, admittedly, a bit of a gray area, but some companies are more tied to the years of experience than others. However, applying for a job that asks for 10 years of experience when you’ve been out of college for one year is probably a long shot. So, be realistic. If you’re very close to the range they give, it’s likely worth sending over an application.
Second languages are a more obscure requirement, but one that can live at the very end of a job description and can easily be overlooked. If a company needs someone proficient in a second language and you’re not, it should be a no-go. However, if you’ve taken a significant number of years in that language but are not proficient, it could be enough to get you an interview.
So, if you’ve learned anything, it’s to read the entire job description and then read it again before applying. Companies create these to weed out candidates, so ensure that you tick most, if not all, of their non-negotiables. Again, many are subjective, so you will still need to use your best judgment. But typically, companies make it clear what their needs are and what their nice to have’s are.